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Ruth Hall:a domestic tale of the present 




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R*U T H HALL 



DOMESTIC TALE 



THE PEESENT TIME. 



FANNY FERNc 



NEW YORK: 

PUBLISHED BY MASON BEOTHEES. 

1855. 



Ak$UJOL 



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1854^ 

BY MASON BROTHERS, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Soulhem District 
of New York. 



STBRTCOTJPKD BY PRINTED BY 

THOMAS B. SMITH, JOHN A. GRAY, 

216 William St., N. Y. 95 & 97 Clifif St. 



PREFACE. 



TO THE KEADER. 

T PRESENT you with my first continuous story. 
I do not dignify it by the name of " A novel." 
I am aware that it is entirely at variance with 
all set rules for novel-writing. Thero is no in- 
tricate plot ; there are no startling develop- 
ments, no hair-breadth escapes. I have compressed 
into one volume what I might have expanded into 
two or three. I have avoided long introduc- 
tions and descriptions, and have entered uncere- 
moniously and unannounced, into people's houses, 
without stopping to ring the bell. Whether you 
wUl fancy this primitive mode of calling, whether 
you will lite the company to which it introduces 
you, or — ^whether you will like the book at all, I 



IV P E E F A C E . 

cannot tell. Still, I cherisli tlie hope that, some- 
where in the length and breadth of the land, it 
may fan into a flame, in some tried heart, the 
fading embers of hope, well-nigh extinguished by 
wintry fortune and summer friends. 

I'ANTSrY FEEK 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE BTE BEFORE THE BEIDAL — KUTH'S LITTLE ROOM — A RETRO- 
BPEOTITE REVERIE . . .... 

CHAPTER II. 
THE -WTSDIIING — A GLIMPSE OF THE CHARACTER OP RDTH'S 
BROTHER HTACmTH 

CHAPTER ni. 
IHE NEW HOME — SOLILOQUY OF THE MOTHER-IN-LAW . 

CHAPTER IT. 

THE FIRST INTEBTIEW WITH THE MOTHER-IN-LAW . 

CHAPTER T. 
ruth's REFLECTIONS ON THE INTERVIEW .... 

CHAPTER VI. 

A BIT OP FAMILT HISTORY 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE FIRST-BORN 



Tl CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER Vin. 

THE NUESE 



41 



CHAPTER IS. 

I'0BTHEE DEVELOPMENTS OF THE MOXHEIWN-LA'W'S CHAEAO- 

TBE 44 

CHAPTER X. 
kttth's countet home 41 

CHAPTER XI. 

EUTH AND DAISY 50 

CHAPTER Xn. 

■THE OLD POLKS FOLLOW THE TOnNff COUPLE — AN ENTEETAIN- 

INO DIALOGUE 52 

CHAPTER XIII. 
THE OLD lady's SUEEEPTITIOUS VISIT TO EUTH'S, AND HEE EN- 

COUNTEE WITH DINAH 55 

CHAPTER XIT. 
THE OLD LADY SEAEOHES THE HOUSE — WHAT SHE FINDS . 59 

CHAPTER XV. 

THE OLD DOOTOE MEDDLES WITH HAEET'S FAEMINff AERANG-E- 

MENTS 63 

CHAPTER XVI. 

LITTLE daisy's REVERIE — HER STEANSE PLAYFELLOW . . 65 

CHAPTER XVII. 

" PAT " MUTINIES 67 



CONTENTS. Vil 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

A UKOWL rROM THE OLD LADY 69 

CHAPTER XIX. 
DAIST'S glee at the FIEST SLEIGH-REDE .... 12 

CHAPTER XX. 

daisy's illness — THE OLD DOCTOB EErUBES TO COMB . . 74 

CHAPTER XXI. 
Dinah's "warning — harry goes again for the doctor . 78 

CHAPTER XXII. 
the old doctor arrites too late 81 

CHAPTER XXIII. 

" THE glen" deserted — THE OLD DOCTOR'S AND HI3 WIFB'a 
VERSION 01? THE CAUSE OP DAISY'S DEATH — MRS. JONES 
GI7ES HER OPINION 85 

CHAPTER XXIV. 

ANNIVERSARY OF DAISY'S DEATH — RDTH'S REVERIE — LITTLE 

katy's request 90 

CHAPTER XXT. 
HOTEL LIFE — A NEW FRIEND 93 

CHAPTER XXTI. 

THE FALL OF THE LEAF — HARRY'S ILLNESS — THE LONELY 

WATCHER .... .... 97 

CHAPTER XXVII. 
ARRIVAL OF THE OLD DOCTOR AND HIS WIFE . . . 102 



Viii CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XXVin. 

THE OLD doctor's AJSTlTOnNOBMEUT — HAERY'S DEATH . . 105 

CHAPTER XXIX. 
hyacinth's sensibilities shocked lit* 



MISS SKItrLlN 



CHAPTER XXX 

114 



CHAPTER XXSI. 

HARBY'S FtTNERAL 120 

CHAPTER XXXIL 
A servant's detotion 123 

CHAPTER XXXIII. 
BICKBRINSS OF THE FATHER AND FATHER-IN-LAW — DISPUTE 

ABOUT THE SUPPORT OF THE CHILDREN . . . 1-25 

CHAPTER XXXIV. 

RUTH RECEIVES A VISIT FROM HER FATHER — ^HE INSISTS ON 
HER GIVINa UP HER CHILDREN TO THE OLD DOCTOR — 
ruth's REFUSAL 128 

CHAPTER XXXT. 

THE OLD LADY, ENRAGED, PROPOSES A COMPROMISE — MR. EL- 
LET IS FORCED TO ACCEDE 132 

CHAPTER XXXVI. 

RUTH'S NETV LODGINGS — SPECULATIONS OF THE BOARDERS . 339 

CHAPTER XXXVII. 

MR. DEVBLIN'S COUNTING-HOUSE — THE OLD DOCTOR'S LETTER 142 



CONTENTS. IX 

CHAPTER XXXVUI. 

Limai KATT MOUENS FOEHEE PAPA .... 146 

CHAPTER SXKIX 

ME. DEVELIN DEMANDS HAEET'S CLOTHES OF EITTH — ^THB WED- 

DINa TEST 148 

CHAPTER XL. 

BUTH'S APPLICATION FOE NEEDLB-WOEK .... 151 

CHAPTER XLI. 

DISaUST OF EUTH'S FASHIONABLE FEIBNBS .... 155 

CHAPTER XLU. 
CONTEESATION Df MES. MILLET'S KITCHEN .... 158 

CHAPTER XLUI. 

THE BOUQUET 161 

CHAPTER XLIT. 

MES. MILLET AND THE ■WOODEN MAN 164 

CHAPTER XLT. 

UTTIE KATT VISITS HEE SEANDPA AND MFJSTS WITH A OHAEAC- 

TEEISIIO RECEPTION — THE STEANSE GENTLEMAN . . 166 

CHAPTER XLYI. 

A PEEP PBOM EUTH'S OHAMBEE WDfDOW — KATt'S EETUE'n . ITI 

CHAPTER XLVII. 

BOAEDDTS-HOUSE EETOLUTION — ^MES. SKIDDY'S FLISHT — ME. 

SKIDDT IN THE CAPACITY OF DEY NUESE . . . 1V6 



X CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XLyni. 

A NETV IDEA— THB MILLETS EXHIBIT THEIE rEIENBSHIP AND - 

DELIOACT 184 

CHAPTER XLIX. 

EUTH RESOLVES TO BECOME A TEACHEE 189 

CHAPTER L. 

EtriH APPLIES rOE A PRIKAET SCHOOL .... 191 

CHAPTER LI. 

THE EXAMINATION BT THE SCHOOL COMMITTEE . . .192 

CHAPTER LH. 

MRS. SKTDDy'S UHEZPECTED EETBEN 198 

CHAPTER LHI. 

(BIDDT'S ISTEEOEPTED HEGIEA — HIS INOABOEEATION — HIS FI- 
NAL ESCAPE 203 

CHAPTER LIV. 

tHE LUNATIC ASYLUM 209 

CHAPTER LT. 

aUTH'S NBTV LAiTDLABT 215 

CHAPTER IVI. 

tHE STEANGE LODSEE — RUTH RESOLTES TO RESORT TO HEE PEN 
TO OBTAIN A SUBSISTENCE — SHE APPLIES TO HER BROTHER 
HTACmTH FOR ADTIOE AND ASSISTANCE — HIS OHARAOTEE- 
ISTIO REPLY ........ 219 

CHAPTER LVU. 

THE OLD LADY RESORTS TO STEATASEM, AND CARRIES HEE 

POINT 224 



CONTENTS. XI 

CHAPTER LYIII. 

MB, ELLET EXHIBITS HIS UStTAI, PATHEELT INTEEEST DT EBTH'S 

APMRS 228 

CHAPTER LIX. 

EUTH APPLIES POE EMPLOYMENT AT NEWSPAPEE OFFICES . 230 

CHAPTER LX. 

THE BEEAD OP LIFE 235 

CHAPTER LXr. 

A CHAPTBE WHICH MAT BE INSTEUOTIVE . . . .23^ 

CHAPTER LXn. 

EUTH OBTAINS EMPLOYMENT — ILLNESS OF NETTIE — THE STEANGB 

LODGEE PEOTES USEFUL . . ... 240 

CHAPTER LXm. 

A PEEP INTO THE OLD DOOTOE'S COTTAGE . '. . . 245 

CHAPTER LXIT. 

A SLIMPSE OF COMING SUCCESS 261 

CHAPTER LXT. 

LITTLE nettle's SOEEOWS — OHEERINO LETTEES . . . 257 

CHAPTER LXVI. 

KATT'S FmST DAT AT SCHOOL — THE TOWN-PUMP CONTEOVEEST 

— OEUELTT OF KATT'S QEANDPAEENTS ... 262 

CHAPTER LXVn. 

ME. JOHN WALTEE 26t 



Xll CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER LXYin. 

A LETTBE FROM MK. WALTER, AND ITS EFFECT 



ati 



CHAPTER LXIX. 

EUTH ENG-ASES TO ■WRITE SOLELY FOE THE HOUSEHOLD KES- 

SENGEE ; . . . 2T8 

CHAPTER LXX. 

■WHAT ME. LESOOM SAID 282 

CHAPTER LXKI. 

A SHARP CORKBSPONDENOE 287 

CHAPTER LXXn. 

OFFERS OF MAEEIAQB AND OFFEES TO PUBLISH . . 292 

CHAPTER LXXIII. 

■WHAT MR. TIBBETTS SAID ABOUT EUTH'S WRITING FOE THE 

HOUSEHOLD VeSSENGEB ....... 298 

CHAPTER LXXrV. 

SOLILOQUT OP A SUB-EDITOR 302 

CHAPTER LZXV. 

MR. WALTER'S ■VISIT 309 

CHAPTER LXXTI. 

THE PHEENOLOGIOAL EXAMINATION 318 

CHAPTER LSXVIL 

PUBLICATION DAT COMES AT LAST 330 



CONTENTS. xm 

CHAPTER LXXVin. 

HYACINTH OOENEEED 334 

CHAPTER LXXrX. 

MB. LEWIS ENIiISHTENED 338 

CHAPTER LXXX 

HOKE LETTERS 342 

CHAPTER LXXXI. 

FRESHET m THE DOCTOR'S CELLAR — " HAMS" IN BANGER OF A 
TOTAL "WHEOB; — SUDDEN APPEARANCE OP BUTH — RBSOtlB 
OF LITTLE KATT 348 

CHAPTER LXXSII. 

ARRIVAL OP KATT WITH HER MOTHER, MR. WALTER, AND MR. 
SRET, AT NEW LODGINGS ; DINNER AND LETTERS — CONVER- 
SATIONS BETWEEN THE CHILDREN . . . . 354 

CHAPTER LXXXin. 
THE LITTLE FAMILY ALONE AT THEIR NEW QUARTERS — NETTIE 

Df THE CONFESSION BOZ — ^KATY'S MIBTH . . . 36Y 



CHAPTER LXXXIT. 

KATY AND NETTIE COMPARE NOTES — RUTH DREAMS — MIDNiaHT 
CONFLAGRATION — RESCUE OF THE LITTLE FAMILY BY JOHN- 
NT SALT 312 

CHAPTER LXXXV. 

TEA-TABLE TALK BETWEEN " THE WOODEN MAN" AND HIS 

SPOUSE — ^LETTER PROM " OUB JOHN" .... 378 



XIV CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER LXXXVI. 

THE OLD LADY EZTINGT7ISHED IN A OONVEESATION WITH HEE 
NEIGHBOES, WHO ANNOUNCE THE ASTONISmNG PACT THAT 
' FIOT' is RUTH 383 

CHAPTER LXXXVII. 

CONTEESATION BETWEEN EUTH'S TATHBR AND ME. JONES EB- 

GAHDINS ruth's HTBRABT DEBUT 388 

CHAPTER LXXXVni. 
interview between the litbeaet booksellee and me. 

waltee 391 



CHAPTER LXXXIX. 

ARRIVAL OF MB. WALTER — ^BANK STOCK AND BANK OBRTIH- 

CATE 394 



CHAPTER XO. 

THE LAST VISIT TO HAEET'S GEAVB .... 398 



CHAPTER I. 



npHE old church clock rang solemnly out on the mid- 
-^ night air. Euth started. For hours she had sat there, 
leaning her cheek upon her hand, and gazing through the 
open space between the rows of brick walls, upon the 
sparkling waters of the bay, glancing and quivering 'neath 
the moon-beams. The city's busy hum had long since 
died away ; myriad restless eyes had closed in peaceful 
slumber ; Ruth could not sleep. This was the last 
time she would sit at that little window. The morrow 
would find her in a home of her own. On the morrow 
Ruth would be a bride. 

Ruth was not sighing because she was about to leave 
her father's roof, (for her childhood had been anything 
but happy,) but she was vainly trying to look into a 
future, which God has mercifully veiled from curious 
eyes. Had that craving heart of her's at length found its 
ark of refuge'? Would clouds or sunshine, joy or sorrow, 



16 EUTHHALL. 

tears or smiles, predominate in her future 1 Who could 
tell ? The silent stars returned her no answer. Would 
a harsh word ever fall from lips which now breathed only- 
love ■? Would the step whose lightest footfall now made 
her heart leap, ever sound in her ear like a death-knell ? 
As time, with its ceaseless changes, rolled on, would love 
flee affrighted from the bent form, and silver locks, and 
faltering footstep? Was there no talisman to keep 
him? 

"Strange questions," were they, "for a young girl!" 
I Ah, but Euth could remember when she was no taUer 
than a rosebush, how cravingly her little heart cried 
out for love ! How a careless word, powerless to wound 
one less sensitive, would send her, weeping, to that 
little room for hours ; and, young as she was, life's 
pains seemed already more to her than life's pleasures. 
Would it always be so ? Would she find more thorns 
than roses in Iobt future pathway ? 

Then, Euth remembered how she used to wish she 
were beautiful, — ^not that she might be admired, but that 
she might be loved. But Euth was "very plain," — so 
her brother Hyacinth told her, and " awkward," too ; 
she had heard that ever since she could remember ; and 
the recollection of it dyed her cheek with blushes, when- 
ever a stranger made his appearance m the home circle. 

So, Euth was fonder of being alone by herself; and 
then, they called her " odd," and " queer," and wondered 



KUTHHALL. 17 

if she would " ever make anything ;" and Buth used to 
wonder, too ; and sometimes she asked herself why 
a sweet strain of music, or a iine passage in a poem, 
made her heart thrill, and her whole frame quiver with 
emotion 1 

The world smiled on her brother Hyacinth. He was 
handsome, and gifted. He could win fame, and what 
was better, love. Euth wished he would love her a little. 
She often used to steal into his room and '■ right " his pa- 
pers, when the stupid housemaid had displaced them ; and 
often she would prepare him a tempting little lunch, and 
carry it to his room, on his return from his morning 
walk ; but Hyacinth would only say, " Oh, it is you, 
Euth, is it ? I thought it was Bridget ;" and go on read- 
ing his newspaper. 

Euth's mother was dead. Euth did not remember a 
great deal about her — only that she always looked un- 
easy about the time her father was expected home ; and 
when his step was heard in the hall, she would say in a 
whisper, to Hyacinth and herself, " Hush ! hush ! your 
father is coming ;" and then Hyacinth would immediately 
stop whistling, or humming, and Euth would run up into 
her little room, for fear she should, in some unexpected 
way, get into disgrace. 

Euth, also, remembered when her father came home 
and found company to tea, how he frowned and com- 
plained of headache, although he always ate as heartily as 



18 E U T II H A L L . 

any of the company ; and how after tea he would stretch 
himself out upon the sofa and say, "I think I'll take a 
nap ;" and then, he would close his eyes, and if the com- 
pany commenced talking, he would start up and say to 
Ruth, who was sitting very still in the corner, '■'■Ruth, don't 
make such a noise;" and when Euth's mother would 
whisper gently in his ear, " Would n't it be hetter, dear, 
if you laid down up stairs 1 it is quite comfortable and 
quiet there," her father would say, aloud, " Oh yes, oh 
yes, you want to get rid of me, do you '3" And then her 
mother would say, turning to the company, " How very 
fond Mr. Ellet is of a joke !" But Ruth remembered 
that her mother often blushed when she said so, and that 
her laugh did not sound natural. 

After her mother's death, Ruth was sent to boarding- 
school, where she shared a room with four strange girls, 
who laid awake all night, telling the most extraordinary 
stories, and ridiculing Ruth for being such an old maid 
that she could not see '' where the laugh came in." Equal- 
ly astonishing to the unsophisticated Ruth, was the de- 
mureness with which they woiild bend over their books 
when the pale, meek-eyed widow, employed as duenna, 
went the rounds after tea, to see if each inmate was pre- 
paring the next day's lessons, and the coolness with which 
they would jump up, on her departure, put on their 
bonnets and shawls, and slip out at the side-street door 
to meet expectant lovers ; and when the pale widow 



EUTHHALL. 19 

went the rounds again at nine o'clock, she would find 
them demurely seated, just where she left them, appar- 
ently busily conning their lessons ! Euth wondered if all 
girls were as mischievous, and if fathers and mothers 
ever stopped to think what companions their daughters 
would have for room-mates and bed-fellows, when they 
sent them away from home. As to the Principal, Mad- 
ame Moreau, she contented herself with sweeping her 
flounces, once a day, through the recitation rooms ; so it 
was not a difficult matter, in so large an establishment, to 
pass muster with the sub-teachers at recitations. 

Composition day was the general bugbear. Euth's 
madcap room-mates were struck with the most unquali- 
fied amazement and admiration at the fecllity with which 
" the old maid " executed this frightful task. They soon 
learned to put her services in requisition ; first, to help 
them out of this slough of despond ; next, to save them 
the necessity of wading in at all, by writing their compo- 
sitions for them. 

In the all-absorbing love affairs which were constantly 
going on between the young ladies of Madame Moreau's 
school and their respective admirers, Euth took no inter- 
est ; and on the occasion of the unexpected reception of a 
bouquet, from a smitten swain, accompanied by a copy of 
amatory verses, Euth crimsoned to her temples and burst 
into tears, that any one could he found so heartless as to 
burlesque the " awkward " Ruth. Simple child ! Sho 



20 RUTH HALL. 

was unconscious that, in the freedom of that atmosphere 
where a " prophet out of his own country is honored," 
her lithe form had rounded into symmetry and grace, 
her slow step had become light and elastic, her eye 
bright, her smUe winning, and her voice soft and melodi- 
ous. Other bouquets, other notes, and glances of involun- 
j tary admiration from passers-by, at length opened her 
|/'eyes to the fact, that she was "plain, awkward Ruth " no 
1 longer. Eureka ! She had arrived at the first epoch in 
) a young girl's life, — she had found out her power ! Her 
i manners became assured and self-possessed. She, Ruth, 
could inspire love ! Life became dear to her. There 
j was something worth living for — something to look for- 
ward to. She had a m.otive — an aim ; she should some 
j day make somebody's heart glad, — somebody's hearth- 
stone bright ; somebody should be proud of her ; and oh, 
how she could love that somebody ! History, astronomy, 
I mathematics, the languages, were all pastime now. Life 
; wore a new aspect ; the skies were bluer, the earth green- 
er, the flowers more fragrant; — ^her twin-soul existed 
somewhere. 

When Ruth had been a year at school, her elegant 
brother Hyacinth came to see her. Ruth dashed 
down her books, and bounded down three stairs at a 
time, to meet him ; for she loved him, poor chUd, just 
as well as if he were worth loving. Hyacinth drew 
languidly back a dozen paces, and holding up his 



R0THHALL. 21 

hands, drawled out imploringly,, " kiss me if you 
insist on it, Euth, but for heaven's sake, don't tumble 
my dickey." He also remarked, tha,t her shoes were 
too large for her feet, and that her little French apron 
was " slightly askew ;" and told her, whatever else she 
omitted, to be sure to learn " to waltz." He was then 
introduced to Madame Moreau, who remarked to Mad- 
ame Chicohi, her Italian teacher, what a very distingue 
looking person he was ; after which he yawned several 
times, then touched his hat gracefully, praised " the 
very superior air of the establishment," brushed an im- 
perceptible atom of dust from his beaver, kissed the 
tips of his fingers to his demonstrative sister, and tip- 
toed Terpsichoreally over the academic threshold. 

In addition to this, Ruth's father wrote occasionally 
when a term-bill became due, or when his tradesmen's 
bills came in, on the first of January ; on which occa^ 
sion an annual fit of poverty seized him, an alms- 
house loomed up in perspective, he reduced the wages 
of his cook two shillings, and advised Ruth either to 
get married or teach school. 

Three years had passed under Madame Moreau's roof; 
'Kuth's schoolmates wondering the while why she took 
^0 much pains to bother her head with those stupid 
'ftooks, when she was every day grovring prettier, and 
all the world knew that it was quite unnecessary for a 
' pretty woman to be clever. When Ruth once more 



22 RTJTHHALL. 

crossed the paternal threshold, Hyacinth levelled his 
eye-glass at her, and exclaimed, " 'Pen honor, Ruth, 
you 've positively had a narrow escape from being hand- 
some." Whether old Mr. EUet was satisfied with her 
physical and mental progress, Ruth had no means of 
knowing. 

And now, as we have said before, it is the night be- 
fore Ruth's bridal ; and there she sits, though the old 
church beU has long since chimed the midnight hour, 
gazing at the moon, as she cuts a shining path through 
the waters ; and trembling, while she questions the dim, 
uncertain fiiture. Tears, Ruth ? Have phantom shapes 
of terror glided before those gentle prophet eyes ? Has 
death's dark wing even now fanned those girlish tem- 
ples? 



CHAPTER II. 

TT was so odd in Ruth to have no one but the family 
-^ at the wedding. It was just one of her queer freaks ! 
Where was the use of her white satin dress and orange 
wreath ? what the use of her looliing handsomer than 
she ever did before, -when there was nobody there to 
see her V 

"Nobody to Sf.e hei"]" Mark t/iat manly form at 
her side ; see hl^ daik eye gliste'.i, and his chiselled lip 
quiver, as he ben'is an eames'., ga,w on her who realizes 
all his boyhood dreams. Misiaken ones ! it is not ad- 
miration which that young beating heart craves ; it is 
love. 

" A very fine-looking, presentable fellow," said Hya^ 
cinth, as the carriage rolled away with his new brother- 
in-law. " Really, love is a great beautifier. Ruth looked 
quite handsome to-night. Lord bless me ! how im- 
mensely tiresome it must be to sit opposite the same 
face three times a day, three hundred and sixty-five 



24 RUIHHALL. 

days in a year !' I should weary of Venus herself. I 'm 
glad my handsome brother-in-law is in such good cir- 
cumstances. Duns are a bore. I must keep on the 
right side of him. Tom, was that tailor here again 
yesterday ? Did you tell him I was out of town ? 
Right, Tom," 



CHAPTER III. 

" TTTELL, I hope Harry will be happy," said Euth's 
' ' mother-in-law, old Mrs. Hall, as she untied 
her cap-strings, and seated herself in the newly-furnish- 
ed parlor, to await the coming of the bride and bride- 
groom. " I can't say, though, that I see the need of his 
being married. I always mended his socks. He has 
* sixteen bran new shirts, eight linen and eight cotton. 
I made them myself out of the Hamilton long-cloth. 
Hamilton long-cloth is good cotton, too ; strong, firm, 
and wears well. Eight cotton and eight linen shirts ! 
Can anybody tell what he got married for ? / don't 
know. If he tired of his boarding-house, of course he 
could always come home. As to Euth, I don't know 
anything about her. Of course she is perfect in his 
eyes. I remember the time when he used to think me 
perfect. I suppose I shall be laid on the shelf now. 
Well, what beauty he can find in that pale, golden 



26 EUTHH.ILL. 

hair, and those blue-gray eyes, I don't know. I can't 
say I fancy the family either. Proud as Lucifer, all 
of 'em. Nothing to be proud of, either. The fether 
next to nothing when he began life. The son, a con- 
ceited jackanapes, who divides his time between writing 
rhymes and inventing new ties for his cravat. Well, 
well, we shall see ; but I doubt if this bride is anything 
but a well-dressed doll. I've been peeping into her 
bureau drawers to-day. What is the use of all those 
ruffles on her under-dothes, I 'd like to know ? Who 's 
going to wash and iron them ? Presents to her ! Well, 
why don't people make sensible presents, — a dozen of 
dish towels, some crash rollers, a ball of wick-yam, or 
the like of that?" 

" 0-o-oh d-e-a-r ! there 's the carriage ! Now, for one 
month to come, to say the least, I shall be made per- 
fectly sick with their billing and cooing. I should n'l 
be surprised if Harry did n't speak to me oftener thai 
once a day. Had he married a practical woman 1 
would n't have cared — somebody who looked as if God 
made her for something; but that little yeUow-haired 
simpleton — ^umph !" 

Poor Ruth, in happy ignorance of the state of her 
new mother-in-law's feelings, moved about her apart- 
ments in a sort of blissful dream. How odd it seemed, 
!this new freedom, this being one's own mistress. How 
' odd to see that shaving-brush and those razors lying on 



BUTHHALL. 27 

her toilet tatle! then that saucy looking smoking-cap, 
those slippers and that dressing-gown, those fancy neck- 
ties, too, and vests and coats, in unrebuked proximity 
to her muslins, laces, silks and de laines ! 
Euth liked it. 



CHAPTER IT. 

" f^ OOD morning, Euth ; Mrs. Mall I suppose I should 
^ call you, only that I can't get used to being 
shoved one side quite so suddenly," said the old lady, 
with a faint attempt at a laugh. 

" Oh, pray don't say Mrs. Hall to me," said Ruth, 
handing her a chair ; " call me any name that best 
pleases you ; I shall be quite satisfied." 

"I suppose you feel quite lonesome when Harry is 
away, attending to business, and as if you hardly knew 
what to do with yourself; don't you?" 

" Oh, no,'' said Ruth, with a glad smile, '' not at all. 
I was just thinking whether I was not glad to have 
him gone a little while, so that I could sit 'down and 
think how much I love him." 

The old lady moved uneasily in her chair. " I sup- 
pose you understand all about housekeeping, Ruth?" 



R U T H H A L L . i'j 

Ruth blushed. "No," said she, "I have but just 
returned from boarding-school. I asked Harry to wait 
till I had learned house-keeping matters, but he was 
not willing." 

The old lady untied her cap-strings, and patted the 
floor restlessly with her foot. 

" It is a great pity you were not brought up proper- 
ly," said she. " I learned all that a girl should learn, 
before I married. Harry has his fortune yet to make, 
you know. Young people, now-a^days, seem to think 
that money conies in showers, whenever it is wanted ; 
that's a mistake; a penny at a time — that's the way 
we got ours ; that 's the way Harry and you wUl have 
to get yours. Harry has been brought up sensibly. 
He has been taught economy ; he is, like me, naturally 
of a very generous turn ; he will occasionally offer you 
pin-money. In those cases, it will be best for you to 
pass it over to me to keep ; of course you can always 
have it again, by telling me how you wish to spend it. 
I would advise you, too, to lay by all your handsome 
clothes. As to the silk stockings you were married in, 
of course you will never be so extravagant as to wear 
them again. I never had a pair of silk stockings in my 
life; they have a very silly, frivolous look. Do you 
know how to iron, Ruth ?" 

"Yes," said Ruth; "I have sometimes clear-starched 
my own muslins and laces." 



no BtTTHHALL. 

'• erlad t > hear it ; did you ever seat a pair of pan- 
taloons 1" 

" No," said Euth, repressing a laugh, and yet half in- 
clined to cry; ''you forget that I am just home from 
boarding-school. " 

"Can you make tread? When I say bread I mean 
bread — old fashioned, yeast riz bread ; none of your sal- 
soda, salseratus, sal-yolatile poisonous mixtures, that must 
be eaten as quick as baked, lest it should dry up ; yeagt 
bread — do you know how to make it 1" 

" No," said Ruth, with a growing sense of her utter 
good-for-nothingness ; "people in the city always buy 
baker's bread; my father did." 

"Your father! land's sake, chUd, you mustn't quote 
your father now you 're married; you have n't any 
father." 

I never had, thought Ruth. 

"To be sure; what does the Bible say? 'Forsaking 
father and mother, cleave to your wife,' (or husband, 
which amounts to the same thing, I take it ;) and speak- 
ing of that, I hope you won't be always rumiing home, 
or running anywhere in fact. Wives should be keepers at 
home. Ruth," continued the old lady after a short 
pause, " do you know I should like your looks better, if 
you did n't curl your hair ?" 

"I don't curl it," said Ruth, "it curls naturally." 

"That's a pity," said the old lady, "you should 



KUTHHALL. 31 

avoid everything that looks frivolous ; you must try 
and pomatum it down. And Euth, if you should feel 
the need of exercise, don't gad in the streets. Re- 
member there is nothing like a broom and a dust-pan 
to make the blood circulate." 

" You keep a rag bag, I suppose," said the old lady ; 
" many 's the glass dish I 've peddled away my scissors- 
clippings for. ' Waste not, want not.' I 've got that 
framed somewhere. I '11 hunt it up, and put it on your 
wall. It won't do you any harm to read it now and 
then." 

"I hope," continued the old lady, "that you don't 
read novels and such trash. I have a very select little 
library, when you feel Inclined to read, consisting of a 
treatise on ' The Complaints of Women,' an excellent ser- 
mon on Predestination, by our old minister. Dr. Diggs, 
and Seven Reasons why John Rogers, the martyr, must 
have had ten children instead of nine (as is generally 
supposed) ; any time that you stand in need of rational 
reading come to me ;" and the old lady, smoothing a 
wrinkle in her black silk apron, took a dignified leave. 



CHAPTER V. 

■pOOR RUTH ! her sky so soon overcast ! As the 
door closed on the prim, retreating figure of her 
mother-in-law, she burst into tears. But she was too 
sensible a girl to weep long. She wiped her eyes, 
and began to consider what was to be done. It would 
never do to complain to Harry — dear Harry. He 
would have to take sides ; oh no, that would never 
do ; she could never complain to him of his own 
mother. But why did he bring them together? know- 
ing, as he must have known, how little likely they 
were to assimilate. This thought she smothered c[uickly, 
but not before it had given birth to a sigh, close upon 
the heels of which love framed this apology: It was 
so long since Harry had lived under the same roof 
with his mother he had probably forgotten her eccen- 
tricities; and then she was so dotingly fond of him, 
that pi'obably no points of collision ever came up be- 
fween the two. 



RTJTHHALL. 33 

In the course of an hour, what with cold bathing and 
philosophy, Euth's eyes and eq[uanimity were placed be- 
yond the suspicion even of a newly-made husband, and 
when she held up her lips to him so temptingly, on his 
return, he little dreamed of the self conquest she had so 
tearfully achieved for his sake. 
2* 



CHAPTER VI. 

TTAEEY'S father began life on a farm in Vermont. 
Between handling ploughs, hoes, and harrows, he 
had managed to pick up sufficient knowledge to es- 
tablish himself as a country doctor; well contented to 
ride six miles on horseback of a stormy night, to ex- 
tract a tooth for some distracted wretch, for twenty-five 
cents. Naturally loc[uacious, and equally fond of ad- 
ministering jalap and gossip, he soon became a great 
favorite with the " women folks," which every aspiring 
Esoulapius, who reads this, knows to be half -the battle. 
They soon began to trust him, not only in drawing 
teeth, but in cases involving the increase of the vil- 
lage census. Several successes in this line, which he 
took no pains to conceal, put him behind a gig of his 
own, and enabled his practice to overtake his &me as 
far as the next village. 
Like many other persons, who revolve all their life 



EUTHHALL. 35 

in a peck measure, the doctor's views of the world 
in general, and its denizens in particular, were somewhat 
circumscribed. Added to this, he was as persevering 
as a fly in the dog-days, and as immovable as the 
old rusty weather-cock on the village meeting-house, 
which for twenty 'years had never been blown about 
by any whisking wind of doctrine. " When he opened 
his mouth, no dog must bark ;" and any dissent from 
his opinion, however circumspectly worded, he con- 
sidered a personal insult. As his wife entertained the 
same liberal views, occasional conjugal collisions, on 
this narrow track, were the consequence ; the in- 
terest of which was intensified by each reminding the 
other of their Calvinistio church obligations to keep 
the peace. They had, however, one common ground 
of undisputed territory — their " Son Harry," who was 
as infallible as the Pope, and (until he got married) 
never did a foolish thing since he was bom. On this 
last point, their " Son Harry " did not exactly agree 
with them, as he considered it decidedly the most de- 
lightful negotiation he had ever made, and one which 
he could not even think of without a sudden accelera- 
tion of pulse. 

Time wore on, the young couple occupying their 
own suite of apartments, while the old people kept 
house. The doctor, who had saved enough to lay his 
saddle-bags with his medical books on the shelf, busied 



36 RUTHHALL. 

himself, after he had been to market in ttie morning, 
in speculating on what Euth -was about, or in peeping 
over the balustrade, to see who called when the bell 
rang; or, in counting the wood-pile, to see how many 
sticks the cook had taken to make the pot boil for din- 
ner The second girl (a supernumerary of the bridal 
week) had long since been dismissed ; and the doctor 
and his wife spent their evenings with the cook, to save 
the expense of burning an extra lamp. Consequently, 
Betty soon began to consider herself one of the family, 
and surprised Ruth one day by modestly requesting 
the loan of her bridal veil " to wear to a little party ;" 
not to speak of sundry naps to which she treated her- 
self in Ruth's absence, in her damask rocking chair, 
which was redolent, for some time after, of a strong odor 
of dish-water. 

Still, Ruth kept her wise little mouth shut; moving, 
amid these discordant elements, as if she were deaf, 
dumb, and blind. 

Oh, love ! that thy silken reins could so curb the 
spirit and bridle the tongue, that thy uplifted finger of 
warning could calm that bounding pulse, still that throb- 
bing heart, and send those rebellious tears, unnoticed, 
back to their source. 

Ah ! could we lay bare the secret history of many a 
wife's heart, what martyrs would be found, ovei* whose un- 
eompls,ining lips the grave sets its unbrpkei; seal of silence. 



RUTH HALL. 37 

But was Harry blind and deaf? Had the bride- 
groom of a few months grown careless and unobservant 1 
Was he, to whom every hair of that sunny head was 
dear, blind to the inward struggles, marked only by fits 
of feverish gaiety ? Did he never see the sudden ruse 
to hide the tell-tale blush, or starting tear ? Did it 
escape his notice, that Ruth would start, like a guilty 
thing, if a sudden impulse of tenderness betrayed her 
into laying her hand upon his forehead, or leaning 
her head upon his shoulder, or thi'owing her arms 
about his neck, when the jealous mother was by ? Did 
not his soul bend the silent knee of homage to that 
youthful self-control that could repress its own warm 
emotions, and stifle its own sorrows, lest he should know 
a heart-pang? 

Yes ; Ruth read it in the magnetic glance of the lov- 
ing eye as it lingeringly rested on her, and in the low, 
thrilling tone of the whispered, " God bless you, my 
wife ;" and many an hour, when alone in his counting 
room, was Harry, forgetful of business, revolving plans 
for a separate home for himself and Ruth. 

This was rendered every day more necessary, by the 
increased encroachments of the old people, who insisted 
that no visitors should remain in the house after the old- 
fashioned hour of nine ; at which time the fire should 
be taken apart, the chairs set up, the lights extinguished, 
and a solemn silence brood until the next morning's 



38 RUTHHALL. 

cock-crowing. It was also suggested to the young 
couple, that the wear and tear of the front entry carpet 
might be saved by their entering the house by the back 
gate, instead of the front door. 

Meals were very solemn occasions ; the old people 
frowning, at such times, on all attempts at conversation, 
save when the doctor narrated the market prices he paid 
foi; each article of food upon the table. And so time 
wore on. The old couple, like two scathed trees, dry, 
harsh, and uninviting, presenting only rough surfaces to 
the clinging ivy, which fain would dothe with brightest 
verdute their leafless branches. 



CHAPTER yil. 



TJAEK ! to that tiny wail ! Euth knows that most 
blessed of all hours, Euth is a mother ! Joy to 
thee, Euth ! Another outlet for thy womanly heart ; a 
mirror, in which thy smiles and tears shall be reflected 
back; a fair page, on which thou, God-commissioned, 
mayst write what thou wilt ; - a heart that will throb 
back to thine, love for love. 

But Euth thinks not of all this now, as she lies pale 
and motionless upon the pillow, while Harry's grateful 
tears bedew his first-born's face. She cannot even wel- 
come the little stranger. Harry thought her dear to 
him before ; but now, as she lies there, so like death's 
counterpart, a whole life of devotion would seem too 
little to prove his appreciation of all her sacrifices. 

The advent of the little stranger was viewed through 
very different spectacles by different members of the 
family. The doctor regarded it as a little automaton, 



40 BUTHHALL. 

for pleasant jEsculapian experiments in his idle hours; 
the old lady viewed it as another barrier between her- 
self and Harry, and another tie to cement his already 
too strong attachment for Kuth; and Betty groaned, 
when she thought of the puny interloper, in connection 
with washing and ironing days ; and had already made 
up her mind that the first time its nurse used her new 
saucepan to make gruel, she would strike for higher 
wages. 

Poor, little, unconscious " Daisy," with thy velvet 
cheek nestled up to as velvet a bosom, sleep on; thou 
art too near heaven to know a taint of earth. 



CHAPTER VIII. 



■pUTH'S nurse, Mrs. JifF, was fat, elephantine, and 
-'-*' unctuous. Nursing agreed with her. She had " tast- 
ed" too many bowls of wine-whey on the stairs, tipped 
up too many bottles of porter in the closet, slid down 
too many slippery oysters before handing them to " her 
lady," not to do credit to her pantry devotions. Mrs. 
Jiff wore an uncommonly stiff gingham gown, which 
sounded, every time she moved, like the rustle of a 
footfall -among the withered leaves of autumn. Her 
shoes were new, thick, and creaky, and she had a wheezy, 
dilapidated-bellowsy way of breathing, consequent upon 
the consumption of the above-mentioned port and oys- 
ters, which was intensely crucifying to a sick ear. 

Mrs. Jiff a,lways " forgot to bring" her own comb 
and hair brush. She had a way, too, of opening draw- 
ers and closets " by mistake," thereby throwing her 
helpless victim into a state of profuse perspiration. 
Then she would go to sleep between the andirons, 



42 RUTH HALL. 

with the new baby on the edge of her knee, in alarm- 
ing prokimity to the coals ; would take a pinch of snuff 
over the bowl of gruel in the corner, and knock down 
the shovel, poker, and tongs, every time she went near 
the fire; whispering — sh — sh — sh — at the top of her 
lungs, as she glanced in the direction of the bed, as if 
its demented occupant were the guilty cause of the ac- 
cident. 

Mrs. Jiff had not nursed five-and-twenty years for 
nothing. She particularly affected taking care of young 
mothers, with their first babies ; knowing very well that 
her chain shortened, with every after addition to maternal 
experience : she considered herself, therefore, quite lucky 
in being called upon to superintend little Daisy's ad- 
vent. 

It did occasionally cross Euth's mind as she lay, al- 
most fainting with exhaustion, on the pillow, whUe the 
ravenous little Daisy cried, " give, give," whethejSt took 
Mrs. Jiff two hours to make one cup of tea, and brown 
one slice of toast ; Mrs. Jiff solacing herself, meanwhile, 
over an omelette in the kitchen, with Betty, and pouring 
into her ready ears whole histories of " gen'lemen as 
wasn't gen'lemen, whose ladies she nursed," and how 
"nobody but herself knew tow late they did come 
home when their wives were sick, though, to be sure, 
she 'd scorn to tell of it !"^ Sometimes, also, Euth inno- 
cently wondered if it was necessary for the nurse to 



RUTHHALL. 43 

occupy the same bed with " her lady ;" particularly when 
her circumference was as Behemoth-ish, and her nose as 
musical as Mrs. Jiff's ; and whether there would be any 
impropriety in her asking her to take the babe and keep 
it quiet ^ar* of the night, that she might occasionally get 
a nap. Sometimes, too, she considered the feasibility of 
requesting Mrs. Jiff not to select the time when she 
(Ruth) was sipping her chocolate, to comb out her 
" false front," and polish up her artificial teeth ; and 
sometimes she marvelled why, when Mrs. Jiff paid such 
endless visits to the kitchen, she was always as fixed as 
the North Star, whenever dear Harry came in to her 
chamber to have a conjugal chat with her. 



CHAPTEK IX. 



"TTOW do you do this morning, Euthi" said the old 
■*■ lady, lowering herself gradually into a softly-cush- 
ioned arm chair. " How your sickness hag altered you ! 
You look like a ghost ? I should n't wonder if you lost 
all your hair ; it is no uncommon thing in sickness ; or 
your teeth either. How 's the baby ? She don't favor 
our side of the house at all. She is quite a plain child, 
in fact. Has she any symptoms, yet, of a sore mouth "i 
I hope not, because she will communicate it to your 
breast, and then you '1] have a time of it. I knew a 
poor, feeble thing once, who died of it. Of course, you 
intend, when Mrs. Jiff leaves, to take care of the baby 
yourself; a nursery girl would be very expensive." 

" I believe Harry has already engaged one," said 
Ruth. 

" I don't think he has," said the old lady, sitting up 
very straight j "because it was only this morning that 



RtTHHALL. 45 

the doctor and I figured up the expense it would be to 
you, and we unanimously came to the conclusion to 'j&ll 
Harry that you 'd better take care of the child j ourself. 
I always took care of my babies. You ought n't to have 
mentioned a nursery girl, at all, to Harry." 

" He proposed it himself," replied Ruth ; " he said I 
was too feeble to have the care of the child." 

" Pooh ! pshaw ! stuff! no such thing. You are well 
enough, or will be, before long. Now, there 's a girl's 
board to begin with. Servant girls eat like boa-con- 
strictors. Then, there 's the soap and oil she '11 waste ; — 
oh, the thing is n't to be thought of; it is perfectly ruin- 
ous. If you had n't made a fool of Harry, he never 
could have dreamed of it. You ought to have sense 
enough to check him, when he would go into such ex- 
travagances for you, but some people have n't any sense. 
Where would all the sugar, and starch, and soap, go to, 
I 'd like to know, if we were to have a second girl in the 
house? How long would the wood-pile, or pitch-kin- 
dlings, or our new copper-boiler last ? And who is to 
keep the back gate bolted, with such a chit flying in and 
out?" 

" Will you please hand me that camphor bottle f 
said Euth, laying her hand upon her throbbing forehead. 

" How *s my little snow-drop to-day ?" said Harry, 
entering Ruth's room as his mother swept out ; " what 



46 KUTHHAH. 

ails your eyes, Buth ?" said her husband, remo\ri g the 
little hands which hid them. 

" A sudden pain," said Euth, laughing gaily ; " it has 
gone now ; the camphor was too strong." 

Good Euth! brave Euth! Was Harry deceived? 
Something ails his eyes, now ; but Euth has too much 
tact to notice it. 

Oh Love ! thou skilful teacher I learned beyond all 
the wisdom of the schools. 



CHAPTER X 



" T7"0U 'will be happy here, dear Kuth," said Harry ; 
-*- " you will be your own mistress.'' 
Ruth danced about, from room to room, with the 
careless glee of a happy child, quite forgetful that she 
was a wife and a mother.; quite unable to repress the 
flow of spirits consequent upon her new-found freedom. 
I Ruth's new house was about five miles from the city. 
jThe approach to it was through a lovely winding lane, 
; a little off the main road, skirted on either side by a 
thick grove of linden and elms, where the wild grape- 
vine leaped, clinging from branch to branch, festooning 
its ample clusters in prodigal profusion of fruitage, and 
forming a dense shade, impervious to the most garish 
noon-day heat; while beneath, the wild brier-rose im- 
folded its perftimed leaves ia the hedges, till the bees 
and humming-birds went reeling away, with their hon 
eyed treasures. 



48 



EUTH HALL. 



You can scarce see the house, for the drooping elms, 
half a century old, whose long branches, at every wind- 
gust, swept across the velvet lawn. The house is very 
old, but Ruth says, "All the better for that." Little 
patches of moss tuft the sloping roof, and swallows and 
martens twitter round the old chimney. It has nice old- 
fashioned beams, running across the celling, which threat- 
en to bump Harry's curly head. The doorways, too, 
are low, with honeysuckle, red and white, wreathed 
around the porches ; and back of the house there is a 
high hill (wjiich Ruth says must be terraced off for a 
garden), surmounted by a gray rook, crowned by a 
tumble-down old summ.er-houBe, where you have as fine 
a prospect of hill and valley, rock and river, as ever a 
sunset flooded with rainbow tints. 

It was blessed to see the love-light in Ruth's gentle 
eyes ; to see the rose chase the lily from her cheek ; to 
see the old spring come back to her step ; to follow her 
from room to room, while she draped the pretty white 
curtains, and beautified, unconsciously, everything her 
fingers touched. 

She could give an order without having it counter- 
manded ; she could kiss little Daisy, without being 
called " silly ;" she could pull out her comb, and let 
her curls flow about her face, without being considered 
" frivolous ;" and, better than all, she could fly into her 
husband's arms, when he came home, and kiss him, with- 



RUTHHALX.. 49 

out feeling that she had broken any penal statute. Yes ; 
she was free as the golden orioles, whose hanging nests 
swayed to and fro amid the glossy green leaves beneath 
her window. 

But not as thoughtless. 
,' Euth had a strong, earnest nature ; she could not look 
upon this wealth of sea, sky, leaf, bud, and blossom ; she 
• could not listen to the little birds, nor inhale the per- 
fumed breath of morning, without a filling eye and brim- 
ming heart, to the bounteous Giver. Should she revel 
in all this loveliness, — should her heart be filled to its 
fullest capacity for earthly happiness, and no grateful 
incense go up from its altar to Heaven? 

And the babe ? Its wondering eyes had already be- 
gun to seek its mother's ; its little lip to quiver at a harsh 
or discordant sound. An unpraoticed hand must sweep 
that harp of a thousand strings ; trembling fingers must 
inscribe, indelibly, on that blank page, characters to be 
read by the light of eternity : the maternal eye must 
never sleep at its post, lest the enemy rifle the casket of 
its gems. And ao, by her child's cradle, Euth first 
learned to pray. The weight her slender shoulders could 
not bear, she rolled at the foot of the cross ; and, with 
the baptism of holy tears, mother and child were conse- 
crated. 

8 



CHAPTER XI. 

nniME flew on; seasons came and went; and still peace 
-^ brooded, like a dove, under the roof of Harry and 
Ruth. Each bright summer morning, Ruth and the little 
Daisy, (who already partook of her mother's love for 
nature,) rambled, hand in hand, through the woods and 
^fields, with a wholesome disregard of those city bug- 
bears, sun, dew, bogs, fences, briers, and cattle. Wher- 
ever a flower opened its blue eye in the rock cleft; 
wherever the little stream ran, babbling and sparkling, 
through the emerald meadow; where the golden moss 
piled up its velvet cushion in the cool woods ; where the 
pretty clematis threw the graceful arms of youth 'round 
the gnarled trunk of decay ; where the bearded grain, 
swaying to and fro, tempted to its death the reaper ; 
where the red and white clover dotted the meadow 
grass ; or where, in the damp marsh, the whip-poor-will 
moar.ed, and the crimson lobelia nodded its regal crown ; 



EUTBLHALL. 51 

or where the valley smiled in its beauty 'neath the 
lofty hills, nestling 'mid its foliage the snow-white cot- 
tages ; or where the cattle dozed under the broad, green 
branches, or bent to the glassy lake to drink ; or where, 
on the breezy hill-tops, the voices of childhood came up, 
sweet and clear, as the far-off hymning of angels, — ^there, 
Ruth and her soul's child loved to linger. 

It was beautiful, yet fearful, to mark the kindling eye 
of the chOd ; to see the delicate flush come and go on 
her marble cheek, and to feel the silent pressure of her 
little hand, when this alone could tell the rapture she had 
no words to express. 

Ah, Ruth ! gaze not so dotingly on those earnest eyes. 
Know'st thou not, 

The rose that sweetest doth awake, 
Will soonest go to rest i 



CHAPTER XII. 

" TTTELL," said the doctor, taking his spectacles from 
^^ his nose, and folding them up carefully in their 
leathern case ; " I hope you '11 he easy, Mis. Hall, no-w 
that we 've toted out here, bag and baggage, to please 
you, -when I supposed I was settled for the rest of my 
life." 

" Fathers can't be expected to have as much natural 
affection, or to be as self sacrificing as mothers," said the 
old lady. " Of course, it was some trouble to move out 
here ; but, for Harry's sake, I was willing to do it. 
What does Ruth know about house-keeping, I 'd like to 
know ? A pretty muss she '11 make of it, if Pm not 
around to oversee things." 

" It strikes me," retorted the doctor, " that you won't 
get any thanks for it — from one side of the house, at 
least. Ruth never says anything when you vex her, but 
there 's a look in her eye which — well, Mis. Hall, it tells 
the whole stofy." 



BUTHHALL. 53 

" I 've seen it," said the old lady, while her very cap- 
strings fluttered with indignation, " and it has provoked 
me a thousand times more than if she had thrown a 
brick-bat at my head. That girl is no fool, doctor. She 
knows very well what she is about : but diamond cut 
diamond, / say. Doctor, doctor, there are the hens 
in the garden. I want that garden kept nice. I suppose 
Euth thinks that nobody can have flowers but herself. 
Wait till my china-asters and sweet peas come up. 
I 'm going over today to take a peep round her house ; 
I wonder what it looks like 1 Stuck full of gimcraoks, 
of all sorts, I '11 warrant. Well, I shan't fiimish my best 
parlor till I see what she has got. I 've laid by a little 
money, and — '' 

" Better give it to the missionaries, Mis. Hall," 
growled the doctor ; " I tell you Ruth don't care a pin 
what you have in your parlor." 

" Don't you believe it," said the old lady. 

" Well, anyhow," muttered the doctor, " you can't get 
the upper hand of her in that line ; i. e., if she has a mind 
that you shall not. Harry is doing a very good busi- 
ness ; and you know very well, it is no use to try to 
blind your eyes to it, that if she wanted Queen Vic- 
toria's sceptre, he 'd manage to get it for her." 

" That 's more than I can say of you,^' exclaimed the 
old lady, fanning herself violently ; " for all that I used 
to mend your old saddle-bags, and once made, with my 



54 RUTHHALL. 

own hands, a pair of leather small-clothes to ride horse, 
hack in. .Forty years, doctor, I 've spent in your ser 
vice. I don't look much as I did when you married me. 
I was said then to have ' woman's seven beauties,' inclu- 
ding the ' dimple in the chin,' which I see still remains ;" 
and the old lady pointed to a slight indentation in her 
wrinkled face. " I might have had him that was Squire 
Smith, or Pete Packer, or Jim Jessup. There was n't 
one of 'em who had not rather do the chores on our farm, 
than on any other in the village." 

" Pooh, pooh," said the doctor, " don't be an old fool ; 
that was because your father kept good cider." 

Mrs. Hall's cap-strings were seen flying the next min- 
ute through the sitting-room door ; and the doctor was 
heard to mutter, as she banged the door behind her, 
'' that tells the whole story !" 



CHAPTER XIII. 

" A SUMMER house, hey !" said the old lady, as with 
•'•^ stealthy, cat-like steps, she crossed a small piece of 
woods, between her house and Ruth's ; " a summer 
house ! that 's the way the money goes, is it f "What 
have we here ? a book ;" (picking up a volume which 
lay half hidden in the moss at her feet;) "poetry, I declare ! 
the most frivolous of all reading ; all pencil marked ; — 
and here 's something in Ruth's own hand- writing — ffiat '* 
poetry, too : worse and worse." 

" Well, we '11 see how the kitchen of this poetess looks. 
I will go into the house the back way, and take them by 
surprise ; that 's the way to fmd people out. None of 
your company faces for me." And the old lady peered 
curiously through her spectacles, on either side, as she 
passed along towards the kitchen door, and exclaimed, as 
her eye fell on the shining row, " six milkpans ! — wonder 
if they buy their milk, or keep a cow. If they buy it, it 



56 KUTHHALL. 

must cost them something ; if they keep a cow, I 've no 
question the milk is half wasted." 

The old lady passed her skinny forefinger across one 
of the pans, examining her finger very minutely after 
the operation ; and then applied the tip of her nose to 
the interior of it. There was no fault to be found with 
that milkpan, if it was Euth's ; so, scrutinizing two or 
three dish towels, which were hanging on a line to dry, 
she stepped cautiously up to the kitchen door. A tidy, re- 
spectahle-looking black woman met her on the thresh 
old; her woolly locks bound with a gay -striped ban 
danna, and her ebony face shining with irresistible good 
humor. 

" Is Ruth in 1" said the old lady. 

" Who, Missis ]" said Dinah. 

"Ruth." 

" Missis Hall lives Aere," answered Dinah, with a puz- 
zled look. 

" Exactly,'' said the old lady ; " she is my son's wife.'' 

" Oh ! I beg your pardon. Missis," said Dinah, curt- 
seying respectfully. " I never ' heard her name called 
Ruth afore : massa calls her ' bird,' and ' sunbeam.' " 

The old lady frowned. 

" Is she at home 1" she repeated, with stately dignity. 

" No," said Dinah, " Missis is gone rambling off in 
the woods with little Daisy. She's powerful fond of 
flowers, and things. She climbs fences like a squir'l ! 



RUTHHALL. 57 

it makes this chil' laf to see the ol' farmers stare at 
her." 

" You must hare a great deal to do, here ;" said the 
old lady, frowning; "Ruth isn't much of a hand at 
house--«ork." 

"Plenty to do, Missis, and wiUin' hands to do it. 
Dinah don't care how hard she works, if she don't work 
to the tune of a lash ; and Missis Hall goes singing 
about the house so that it makes time fly." 

"She don't ever help you any, does she?" said the 
persevering old lady. 

" Lor' bless you ! yes, Missis. She comes right in 
and makes a pie for Massa Harry, or cooks a steak jess' 
as easy as she pulls off a flower ; and when Dinah's cook- 
ing anything new, she asks more questions how it 's done 
than this chil' kin answer." 

" You have a great deal of company, I suppose ; that 
must make you extra trouble, I should think ; people 
riding out from the city to supper, when you are all 
through and cleared away : don't it tire you V 

" No ; Missis Hall takes it easy. She laf 's merry, 
and says to the company, 'you get tea enough in the 
city, so I sha n't give you any ; we had tea long ago ; but 
here 's some fresh milk, and some raspberries and cake ; 
and if you can't eat that, you ought to go hungry.' " 

" She irons Harry's shirts, I suppose ?" said the old 
lady. 

3* 



58 EUTHHALL. 

"She? s'pose dis ohil' let her? when she 'a so oarefu], 
too, of ol' Dinah's bones ?" 

"Well," said the old lady, foiled at all points, "I'll 
walk over the house a bit, I guess ; I won't trouble you 
to wait on me, Dinai. •," and the old lady started on her 
exploring tour. 



CHAPTER Xiy. 

"rrmS is the parlor, heyl" soliloquized old Mrs. 
Hall, as she seated herself on the sofa. " A few 
dollars laid out here, I guess." 

Not so fast, my dear madam. Examine closely. Those 
long, white curtains, looped up so prettily from the open 
windows, are plain, cheap muslin ; but no artist could 
have disposed their folds more gracefully. The chairs 
and sofas, also, Euth covered with her own nimble fin- 
gers : the room has the fragrance of a green-house, to be 
sure ; but if you examine the flowers, which are scat- 
tered so profusedly round, you will find they are wild 
flowers, which Ruth, basket in hand, climbs many a stone 
fence 'every morning to gather ; and not a country boy 
in the village knows their hiding-places as well as she. 
See how skilfiilly they are arranged ! with what an 
eye to the blending of colors ! How dainty is that little 
tulip-shaped vase, with those half opened wild-rose buds ! 



60 RUTHHALL. 

see that little gilt saucer, containing only a few tiny 
green leaves ; yet, mark their exquisite shape and finish. 
And there are some wood anemonies; some white, 
with a faint blush of pink at the petals ; and others blue 
as little Daisy's eyes ; and see that velvet moss, with its 
gold-star blossoms ! 

" Must take a deal of time to gather and fix 'em," 
muttered the old lady. 

Yes, my dear madam; but, better pay the shoe- 
maker's than the doctor's bill; better seek health in 
hunting live flowers, than ruin it by manufacturing those 
German worsted abortions. 

You should see your son Harry, as he ushers a 
visitor in through the low door-way, and stands back to 
mark the surprised delight with which he gazes upon 
Euth's little fairy room. You should see how Harry's 
eyes glisten, as they pass from one flower vase to an- 
other, saying, " Who but Ruth would ever have spied out 
that tiny little blossom ■?" 

And little Daisy has caught the flower mania, too ; 
and every day she must have her vase in the collection ; 
now withdrawing a rose and replacing it with a violet, 
and then stepping a pace or two back and looking at it 
with her little head on one side, as knowingly as an 
artist looks at the finishing touches to a favorite picture. 

But, my dear old lady, we beg pardon ; we are keep- 
ing you too long from that china closet, which you are so 



KUTHHi^LL. 61 

anxious to inspect ; hoping to find a flaw, either in crock- 
ery or cake. Not a bit ! You may draw those prying 
fingers across the shelves till you are tired, and not a 
particle of dust will adhere to them. Neither cups, sau- 
cers, tumhlers, nor plates, stick to your hands ; the sugar- 
bowl is covered ; the cake, in that 'tin pail, is fresh and 
light ; the preserves, in those glass jars, tied down with 
brandy papers, are clear as amber ; and the silver might 
serve for a looking-glass, in which you could read your 
own vexation. 

Never mind ! A great many people keep the first 
floor spick and span ; mayhap you 'U find something 
wrong up stairs. Walk in ; 't is the " best chamber." 
A gilt arrow is fastened to the wall, and pretty white 
Looe curtains are thrown (tent fashion) over it ; there is 
a snow-white quilt and a pair of plump, tempting pil- 
lows ; the furniture and carpet are of a light cream 
color ; and there is a vase of honeysuckle on the little 
light-stand. Nothing could be more faultless, you see. 

Now, step into the nursery ; the floor is strewed with 
play-things ; thank God, there 's a child in the house ! 
There is a broken doll ; a torn picture-book ; a little 
wreath of oak leaves ; a dandelion chain ; some willow 
tassels ; a few acorns ; a little red shoe, full of parti 
colored pebbles; the wing of a little blue-bird; two 
little, speckled eggs, on a tuft of moss ; and a little 
orphan cMcken, nestling in a basket of cotton wool, in 



62 EUTHHALL. 

the corner. Then, there is a work-basket of Euth's with 
a little dress of Daisy's, partly finished, and a dicky of 
Harry's, with the needle still sticking in it, which the 
little gypsey wife intends finishing when she comes back 
from her wood ramble. 

The old lady begins to think she must give it up ; 
when, luckily, her eye falls on a crouching " Venus," in 
the corner. Saints and angels ! why, she has never been 
to the dress-makers ! There 's a text, now ! What a 
pity there is no appreciative audience to see the glow of 
indignation with which those half averted eyes regard the 
undraped goddess ! 

" Oh, Harry ! is this the end of all my teachings ? 
Well, it is all RutVs doings — all Euth's doings. Harry 
isto'be pitied, not blamed;" and the old lady takes up, 
.t length, her triumphant march for home. 



CHAPTER XV, 



" TTALLO ! what are you doing there V exclaimed the 

■^■^ doctor, looking over the fence at a laborer, at work 
in one of Harry's fields. 

" Ploughing this bit o' ground, sir. Mr. Hall told 
me to be sure and get it finished before he came home 
from the city this afthernoon." 

" Nonsense !" replied the doctor, " I was bom some- 
time before my son Harry ; put up your plough, and lay 
that bit of stone wall yonder ; that needs to be done 
first." 

" I 'm thinking Masther Hall won't be afther liking it if 

I do, sir," said Pat ; " I had my orders for the day's 

1 work before masther went to the city, sir, this morning." 

" Pooh, pooh," said the old man, unchaining the horse 
from the plough, and turning him loose in the pasture ; 
" young folks think old folks are fools ; old folks know 
young folks to be so." 



64 EtTTHHALL. 

Pat eyed the doctor, scratched his head, and began 
slowly to lay the stone wall. 

" What 's that fellow domg over yonder ?" said the doc- 
tor to Pat. 

" Planting corn, yer honor.'' 

" Com 1 ha ! ha ! city farming ! Good. Com 1 That's 
just the spot for potatoes. H-arl-1-o there ! Don't 
I plant any more com in that spot, John ; it never 11 
\^' come to anything — ^never." 

" But, Mr. Hall V said John, hesitatingly, leaning on 
his hoe-handle. 

" Harry Oh, never mind him. He has seen more 
ledgers than com. Com ? Ha ! that 's good. You can 
go cart that load of gravel up the hUl. What a fortunate 
thing for Harry, that I am here to oversee things. This 
amateur farming is pretty play enough ; but the way it 
sinks the money is more curious than profitable. I won- 
der, now, if that tree is grafted right. I'll take off the 
ligatures and see. That hedge won't grow, I 'm certain ; 
the down-east cedars thrive the best for hedges. I 
may as well pull these up, and tell Harry to get some 
of the other kind ;" and the doctor pulled them up by the 
roots, and threw them over the fence. 



CHAPTER XVI. 



"FTIME for papa to come," said little Daisy, seating 
-^ herself on the low door-step ; " the sun has crept 
way round to the big apple-tree ;" and Daisy shook back 
hgr hair, and settling her little elbows on her Imees, sat 
with her chin in her palms, dreamily watching the shift- 
ing clouds. A butterfly alights on a blade of grass 
near her : D»isy springs up, her long hair floating like 
aweil about her shoulders, and her tiny feet scarce bend- 
ing the dover blossoms, and tiptoes carefully along in 
pursuit. 

He 's gone, Daisy, but never mind ; like many other 
coveted treasures, he would lose his brilliancy if caught. 
Daisy has found something else ; she closes her hand over 
it, and returns to her old watch-post on the door-step. 
She seats herself again, and loosing her tiny hold, out 
creeps a great, bushy, yellow caterpillar. Daisy places 
him carefully on the back of her little, blue-veined hand, 



66 EUTHHALL. 

and he commences his travels up the polished arm, to 
the little round shoulder. When he reaches the lace 
sleeve, Daisy's laugh rings out like a rohin's carol ; then she 
puts him back, to retravel the same smooth road again. 

" Oh, Daisy ! Daisy !" said Euth, stepping up behind 
her, " what an ugly playfellow ; put him down, do dar- 
ling ; I cannot bear to see him on your arm." 

" Why — God made him," said little Daisy, with sweet, 
upturned eyes of wonder. 

" True, darling," said Euth, in a hushed whisper, kiss- 
ing the child's brow, with a strange feeling of awe. 
" Keep him, Daisy, dear, if you like." 



CHAPTER XVII. 



« pLEASE, sir, I '11 be afther leaving the night," said 
John, scraping out his hind foot, as Harry drew 
rein on Eomeo, and halted under a large apple-tree. 

" Leave ?" exclaimed Harry, patting Borneo's neck ; 
" you seemed a contented feUow enough when I left for 
the city this morning. Don't your wages suit ? What's 
in the wind now 1 out with it, man." 

John scratched his head, kicked away a pehhle with 
the toe of his brogan, looked up, and looked down, 
and finally said, (lowering his voice to a confidential 
whisper, as he glanced in the direction of the doctor's 
cottage ;) " It 's the ould gintleman, sir, savin' yer pres- 
ence. It is not two masthers Pat would be afther hav- 
ing ;" and Pat narrated the afiair of the plough. 

Harry bit his lip, and struck Romeo a little quick cut 
with his riding-whip. Harry was one of the most dutiful 
of sons, and never treated his father with disrespect; 



68 RUTHHALL. 

he had chosen a separate home, that he might b' master 
of it ; and this old annoyance in a new shape was very 
provoking. " Pat," said he at length, " there is only one 
master here ; when / give you an order, you are to stick 
to it, till you get a different one from me. D' ye under- 
stand,?" 

" By the Holy Mother, I '11 do it," said Pat, delighted- 
ly resuming his hoe with fresh vigor. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

« rrHAT 'S the fourth gig that has been tied to Harry's 

■^ fence, since dinner," said the old lady. "I hope 
Halry's business mil continue to prosper. Company, 
company, company. And there 'a Ruth, as I live, romp- 
ing round that meadow, -without a bit of a bonnet. Now 
she 's climbing a cherry-tree. A ma/rried woman climb- 
ing a cherry-tree ! Doctor, do you hear that V 

" Shoot 'em down," said the doctor, abstractedly, with- 
out lifting his eyes from the Almanac. 

" Shoot who down 1" said the old lady, shaking him 
by the shoulder, " I said that romp of a Euth was up in 
a cherry-tree." 

" Oh, I thought you were talking of those thievish 
robins stealing the cherries," said the doctor ; "as to 
Ruth I 've given her up long ago ; she never will settle 
down to anything. Yesterday, as I was taking a walk 
over Harry's farm to see if things were not all going to 



70 RUTHHALL. 

the dogs, I saw her down in the meadow yonder, with 
her shoes and stockings off, wading through a little brook 
to get at some flowers, which grew on the other side. 
Half an hour after she came loitering up the road, with 
her bonnet hanging on the back of her neck, and her 
apron crammed full of grasses, and herbs, and branches, 
and all sorts of green trash. Just then the minister 
came along. I was glad of it. Good enough for her, 
thinks I to myself; she '11 blush for once. Well, what 
do you think she did. Mis. Hall 1" 

" WTiatP' said the old lady, in a sepulchral whisper, 
dropping her knitting-needles and drawing her rocking- 
chair within kissing distance of the doctor. 

" Why, she burst out a-laughing, perched herself on 
top of a stone wall, took a great big leaf to fan herself, 
and then invited the minister to sit down 'long side of 
her, jest as easy as if her hair was n't all flying round 
her face like a wild Arab's." 

"I give up now,'' said the old lady, dropping her 
hands in an attitude of the extremest dejection ; " there 's 
uo hope of her after that ; and what is worse, it is no use 
talking to Harry ; she *s got Mm so bewitched that he 
imagines everything she does is right. How she did it, 
passes me. I 'm sure she has no beauty. I 've no pa 
tience to see Harry twisting those yellow curls of hers 
round his fingers, and calling them ' threads of gold ;' 
threads of fiddleutioks ! She 'd look a deal more prbper 



KtTTHHALL. 71 

like, if she 'd wear her hair smooth behiiLd her ears, as 
I do." 

" But your hair is false," said the literal doctor. 

" Doctor," said the old lady, snapping her eyes, " I 

never can argue with you hut you are sure to get off the 

I track, sooner or later ; there is no need of your telling 

/ all, you know. Suppose I was always alluding to your 

wig, how would you like it 1" 



CHAPTER XIX. 

rrriNTEE had set in. The snow in soft, -white piles, 
' ' barred up the cottage door, and hung shelving over 
the bam-roof and fences; while every tiny twig and 
branch bent heavily, with its soft fleecy burthen. " Pa- 
pa," was to go to the city that morning in a sleigh. 
Daisy had already heard the bells tinkling at the barn- 
door, as Pat necklaced Eomeo, who stood pawing and 
snorting, as if it were fine fun to plough five mUes of 
unbroken road into the city. Daisy had turned Papa's 
over-coat sleeves inside out, and warmed them thor- 
oughly at the fire ; she had tied on his moccasins, and 
had thrown his fur collar round his neck ; and now she 
stood holding his warm cap and furred gloves, while he 
and mamma were saying their usual good-bye. 

" Take care of that cough, Daisy," said Harry ; " don't 
oome to the door, darling, to breathe in this keen air. 
Kiss your hand to papa, from the window ;" and Harry 



RUTH HALL. 73 

scratched the frost away with his finger nails from the 
window-pane, that Daisy might see him start. 

" Oh, how pretty !" exclaimed the child, as Pat tossed 
the bright, scarlet-lined huiFalo robe into the sleigh, and 
tucked the comers snugly over his master's feet, and 
Eomeo, inspirited by the merry tinkle of the bells and 
the keen frosty air, stood on his hind legs and playfully 
held up his fore feet ; " Oh, how pretty !" Harry turned 
his head as he gathered the reins in. his hand ; his cap 
was crowded down so snugly over his forehead, and his 
fur collar turned up so closely about his chin, that only 
a glimpse of his dark eye and fine Eoman nose was 
visible. One wave of the hand, and the light, feathery 
snow flew, on either side, from under Romeo's flying 
heels- -«id Papa was out of sight. 
4 



CHAPTER XX, 



* 



" "ITTHY in the world, Euth, are you wanderiDg alaout 

' ^ there, like a ghost, in the moonlight 1" said Harry, 
ruhbing open his sleepy eyes. 

" Hist, Harry ! listen to Daisy's breathing ; it sounds 
as if it came through a brazen tube. She must be ill." 

" Little wife, don't torment yourself, She has only a 
bad cold, which, of course, appears worse at night. Her 
breathing is irregular, because her head is too low. Give 
her this pillow : there ; now she 's comfortable. What a 
frightened little puss you are ! Your hand trembles as if 
you had the palsy ; now go to sleep ; it must be near 
two o'clock; you'll be sick yourself to-morrow:" and 
Harry, wearied out with an annoying day of business, 
was soon fast asleep. 

.Only the eye of God watches like a mother's. Euth 
could not sleep. She was soon again at Daisy's side, 
with her fingers upon her wrist, and her eye fixed upon 



RUTHHALL. 75 

the child's face ; marking every contortion of feature, 
noting every change of posture. 

" What is it, darling 1" asked her mother, as Daisy 
grasped her throat with both hands. 

" It hurts," said the child. 

Euth glanced at Harry. He was so weary, it were a 
pity to wake him needlessly. Perhaps her fears were 
groundless, and she was over-anxious ; and then, perhaps, 
Daisy really needed immediate medical aid. 

Ruth's fears preponderated. 

" Dear Harry," said she, laying her hand softly on his 
forehead, " do call up Pat, and send for the doctor." 

" Certainly, if you think best," said HaiTy, springing 
up ; " but it is a cold night for the old man to come out ; 
and really, Ruth, Daisy has only a stuffed cold." 

" Please let Pat go," said Ruth, pleadingly ; " I shall 
feel happier, Harry.'' 

It was a venturous undertaking to rouse Pat suddenly, 
as his ISump of destructiveness generally woke first ; and 
a fight seemed always with him a necessary preliminary 
to a better understanding of things. 

" Hold ! hold !" said Harry, seizing his brawny, bel- 
ligerent fists ; " not quite so fast man ; open your eyes, 
and see who I am." 

" Did I sthrike yer honor 1" said Pat ; " I hope yer '11 
forgive me ; but you see, I was jist bom with my fists 
doubled up." 



76 RtTTHHALL. 

" All right," said his master, laughing ; " but get on 
your clothes as soon as possible ; harness Romeo, and 
bring the old gentleman vip here. Mrs, Hall feels very- 
uneasy about Daisy, aud wants him to prescribe for her." 

" I '11 bring him back in a flash," said Pat ; " but what '11 
I do if he won't come ?" 

" Who's there ? what ' do you want 1 Speak quick, if 
you 've anything to say, for I 'm. catching the rheumatiz' 
in my head ;" said the doctor, as he poked his bald poll 
out the cottage window, into the frosty night air. Who 
are you ? and what on earth do you want 1" 

"It's me," said Pat. 

" Who 's me?" said the Doctor. 

" Botheration," growled Pat ; " don't the ould owl 
know the voice of me ? — It 's Pat Donahue ; the ohilder 
is sick, and Misthress Euth wants you to come wid me, 
and give her something to betther her." 

" Pooh ! pooh ! is that all you woke me up for ? The 
child was well enough this noon, except a slight cold. 
Ruth is full of notions. Go home and take that bottle, 
and tell her to give Daisy half a teaspoonful once in two 
hours ; and I '11 come over in the morning. She 's al- 
ways arfussing with that child, and thinking, if she sneezes, 
that she is going to die. It 's a wonder if I don't die my- 
self, routed out of a warm bed, witliout my \vig, this time 
of night. There — there — go along, and mind you shut 



RUTHHALL. 77 

the gate after you. Ten to one he '11 leave it open," so- 
liloquized the doctor, slamming down the window with a 
jerk. " I hate an Irishman as I do a rattlesnake. An 
Irishman is an incomplete biped — a human tower of 
Babel ; he was finished up to a certain point, and there 
he was left. 

"Mis. Hall! Mis. Hall! if you've no objection, I 
should like you to stop snoring. I should like to sleep, 
if the village of Glenville will let me. Dear, dear, what 
a thing It is to be a doctor !" 



CHAPTER XXI. 

' TF de las' day has come, dis chil' ought to know it," 
said Dinah, springing to her feet and peering out, 
as she scratched away the frost from the window ; " has 
de debbel broke loose 1 or only de horse % Any way, 
'tis about de same ting ;" and she glanced in the direc- 
tion of the barn. " Massy sakes ! dere's Pat stealing off 
in de night wid Eomeo ; no he aint neider — he 's putting 
him up in de barn. Where you s'pose he's been dis 
time o' night ? Courting p'r'aps ! "Well, dis chil' dunno. 
And dere's a bright light shining on de snow, from Massa 
Harry's window. Dinah can't sleep till she knows 
what 's to pay, dat 's a fac' ;" and tying a handkerchief 
over her woolly head, and throwing on a shawl, she 
tramped down stairs. " Massy sakes !" said she, stop- 
ping on the landing, as Daisy's shrill cough fell on 
her ear ; " Massy ! jes' hear dat F' and opening the cham- 
ber-door, Dinah stood staring at the child, with distended 



BUTHHALL. 79 

eye-balls, then looking from Harry to Euth, as if she 
thought them both under the influence of night-mare. 
" For de LorcPs sake, Massa Harry, send for de doctor," 
said Dinah, clasping her hands. 

" We have," said Harry, trying to coax Daisy to 
swallow another spoonful of the medicine, " and he said 
he'd be here in the morning." 

" She wonH" said Dinah, in a low, hoarse whisper to 
Harry, as she pointed to Daisy. " Don't you know, 
Massa, it 's de croup ! de croup; de wu^st way, Massa! 
Oh Lor' !" 

Harry was harnessing Romeo in an instant, and on his 
way to the doctor's cottage. In vain he knocked, and 
rang, and thumped. The old man, comfortably tucked 
up between the blankets, was far away in the land of 
dreams. 

" What is to be done V said Harry ; " I must tie 
Romeo to the post and climb in at the kitchen-window." 

" Father ! father !" said he, shaking the old gentleman 
by the shoulders, " Daisy is worse, and I want you to go 
right home with me." 

" Don't believe it," said the old man ; " you are only 
frightened ; its an awful cold night to go out." 

" I know it," said Harry ; " but I brought two buffa- 
loes ; hurry, father. Daisy is very sick." 

The old doctor groaned ; took his wig from the bed 
post, and put it on his head ; tied a woollen muffler, with 



80 RUTH HALL. 

distressing deliberation, over his unbelieving ears, and, 
returning four times to tell " Mis. Hall to be sure and bolt 
the front door after him," climbed into the sleigh. " I 
shall be glad if I don't get a sick spell myself," said 
the doctor, " coming out this freezing night. Ruth has 
frightened you to death, I s'pose. Ten to one when I get 
up there, nothing will ail the child. Ckjme, come, don't 
drive so fast ; my bones are old, and I don't believe in 
these gay horses of yours, who never make any use of 
their fore-legs, except to hold them up in the air. Whoa, 
I say — Romeo, whoa !" 

" Get out de way, Pat !" said Dinah ; " your Paddy 
fingers are all thumbs. Here, put some more water in 
dat kettle dere ; now stir dat mustard paste ; now run 
quick wid dat goose-grease up to Missus, and tell her to 
rub de chil's troat wid it; 'taint no use, though. Oh, 
Lor' ! dis nigger knew she would n't live, ever since she 
said dat 'bout de caterpillar. De Lord wants de chil', 
dat 's a fao' ; she nebber played enough to suit Dinah." 



CHAPTER XXII. 

STAMPING the snow from his feet, the doctor slowly 
untied his woollen muffler, took off his hat, settled 
his wig, hung his overcoat on a nail in the entry, drew 
from his pocket a huge red handkerchief, and announcing 
his arrival by a blast, loud enough to arouse the seven 
sleepers, followed Harry up stairs to the sick chamber. 

The strong fire-light fell upon Euth's white figure, as 
she sat, pale and motionless, in the comer, with Daisy on 
her lap, whose laborious breathing could be distinctly 
heard in the next room. A dark circle had settled round 
the child's mouth and eyes, and its little hands hung help- 
lessly at its side. Dinah was kneeling at the hearth, stir- 
ring a fresh mustard paste, with an air which seemed to 
say, " it is no use, but I must keep on doing something." 

The doctor advanced, drew his spectacles from their 
leathern case, perched them astride the end of his nose, 
^nd gazed steadily at Daisy without speaking. 

^'■Help her," said Ruth, imploringly. 
4* 



82 RUTHHALL. 

" Nothing to be done," said the doctor, in an immoved 
tone, staring at Daisy. 

"Why didn't you come afore, denf said Dinah, 
springing to her feet and confronting the doctor. " Don't 
you see you 've murdered two of 'em V and she pointed 
to Euth, whose head had dropped upon her breast. 

" I tell you. Harry, it 's no use to call another doctor," 
said his father, shaking off his grasp ; " the child is 
struck with death ; let her drop off quietly ; what 's the 
sense of tormenting her ]" 

Harry shuddered, and drew hia father again to Daisy's 
side. 

" Help her," said Ruth ; " don't talk ; try something.'''' 

" Well, I can put on these leeches, if you insist," said 
the old man, uncorking a bottle ; " but I tell you, it is 
only tormenting the dying." 

Dinah cut open the child's night dress, and bared the 
fair, round chest, to which the leeches clung eagerly ; 
Daisy, naeanwhile, remaining motionless, and seemingly 
quite insensible to the disagreeable pricking sensation 
they caused. 

" The other doctor is below," whispered Pat, thrusting 
his head in at the door. 

" Bring him up,'' said the old gentleman. 

An expression of pain passed over the young man's 
features &^ his eye fell upon the child, As yet, he had 



RUTHHALL. 83 

not become so professionally hardened, as to be able to 
look unmoved upon the group before him, whose implor- 
ing eyes asked vainly of him the help no mortal hand 
could give. 

A few questions he asked to avoid being questioned 
himself; a few remedies he tried, to appease the mother's 
heart, whose mournful eyes were on him like a spell. 

" Water," said Daisy, faintly, as she languidly opened 
her eyes. 

" God be thanked," said Ruth, overcome by the sound 
of that blessed little voice, which she never expected to 
hear again, " God be thanked." 

The young doctor returned no answering smile, as 
Euth and Harry grasped his hand ; but he walked to tho 
little window and looked out upon the gray dawn, with a 
heavy sigh, as the first faint streak of light ushered in the 
new-born day. 

Still the fire-light flashed and flickered — now upon the 
old doctor, who had fallen asleep in his arm chair ; now 
upon Euth's bowed head ; now upon Daisy, who lay mo- 
tionless in her mother's lap, (the deadly paleness of her 
countenance rendered still more fearfiil by the dark 
blood-stains on her night dress ;) then upon Harry, who, 
kneeling at Daisy's side, and stifling his own strong 
heart, gazed alternately at mother and child ; then upon 
Dinah, who, with folded arms, stood like some grim sen- 
tinel, in the shadow of the farther corner ; the little 



84 EUTHHALL. 

mantle clock, meanwhile, ticking, ticking on — ^number- 
ing the passing moments with startling distinctness. 

Oh, in such an hour, when wave after wave of anguish 
dashes over us, where are the infidel's boasted doubts, as 
the tortured heart cries out, instinctively, " save, Lord ; 
or we perish !" 

Slowly the night waned, and the stars paled. Up the 
gray east the golden sun slowly glided. One beam pene- 
trated the little window, hovering like a halo over Daisy's 
sunny head. A quick, convulsive start, and with one 
wild cry (as the little throat filled to suffocation), the fair 
white arms were tossed aloft, then dropped powerless up- 
on the bed of Death ! 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

" rpHERE can be no sorrow greater than this sorrow," 
sobbed Euth, as the heavy sod fell on Daisy's little 
breast. 

In after years, when bitterer cups had been drained to 
the dregs, Ruth remembered these, her murmuring words. 
Ah ! mourning mother ! He who seeth- the end from the 
beginning, even in this blow " remembered mercy." 



" Your daughter-in-law is quite crushed by her afflio- 
tion, I hear," said a neighbor to old Mrs. Hall. 

" Yes, Mrs. Jones, I think she is," said the old lady 
complacently. " It has taken right hold of her." 

" It died of croup, I believe," said Mrs. Jones. 

" "Well, they say so," said the old lady. " It is my 
opinion the child's death was owing to the thriftlessness 
of the mother. I don't mourn for it, because I believfe 
the poor thing is better off." 



86 Ki;TH HALL. 

" You surprise me," said Mrs. Jones. " I always had 
the impression that young Mrs. Hall was a pattern 
mother." 

"People differ," said the old lady, raising her eye- 
brows, compressing her lips, and looking mysteriously at 
the ceiling, as if she could tell a tale, were she not too 
charitable. 

" Well, the amount of it is," said the garrulous old 
doctor, emerging from the corner ; " the amount of it is, 
that the mother always thought she knew better than 
anybody else how to manage that child. Now, you 
know. Mis. Jones, I 'm a physician, and ouffhf to know 
something about the laws that govern the human body, 
but you '11 be astonished to hear that she frequently acted 
directly contrary to my advice, and this is the result ; 
that tells the whole story. However, as Mis. Hall says, 
the child is better off ; and as to Euth, why the Lord 
generally sends afflictions where they are needed/' and 
the doctor returned to his corner. 

" It looks very lonely at the Glen since they moved 
away," remarked Mrs. Jones. "I suppose they don't 
think of coming back." 

" How ?" replied the doctor, re-appearing from his 
corner. 

" I suppose your son and his wife have no idea of re- 
turning to the Glen," said Mrs. Jones. 

" No — no. Ruth is one of the uneasy kind ; it's com- 



R U T II H A L L . 87 

ing and going — coming and going with her. She fancied 
everything in doors and out reminded her of Daisy, and 
kept wandering round, trying to be rid of herself. Now 
that proves she did n't make a sanctifying use of her 
trouble. It 's no use trying to dodge what the Lord 
sends. We 've just got to stand and take it ; if we 
don't, he '11 be sending something else. Them 's my sen- 
timents, and I consider 'em scripteral. I should n't be 
surprised if Harry was taken away from her ; — a poor, 
miserable thing she 'd be to take care of herself, if he 
was. She couldn't earn the salt to her porridge. 
Thriftless, Mis. Jones, thriftless — come of a bad stock — 
can't expect good fruit off a wild apple tree, at least, not 
without grace is grafted on ; that tells the whole story." 

" Well ; my heart aches for her," said the kind Mrs. 
Jones. " Mrs. Hall is very delicately organized,— one of 
those persons capable of compressing the happiness or 
misery of a lifetime into a few moments." 

"Stuff," said the doctor, "stuff; don't believe it. 
/'m an example to the contrary. I've been through 
everything, and just look at me ;" and the doctor ad- 
vanced a pace or two to give Mrs. Jones a better view of 
his fuU-blown peony face, and aldermanic proportions ; 
"don't believe it. Mis. Jones; stuff! Fashion to be 
sentimental ; nerves a modem invention. Ridiculous !" 

" But," said the persistent Mrs. Jones, " don't you 
think, doctor, that — " 



88 R U T H H A L L . 

" Don't think anything about it," said the doctor. 
" Don't want to hear anything about it. Have no par 
tienoe with any woman who 'd let a husband sell a ferm 
at such a sacrifice as Harry's was sold, merely because 
there was a remote chance she would become insane if 
she staid there. Now, I 've enough to do — plenty to do, 
but, stiU, I was willing to superintend that farm a little, 
as my doing so was such a help to Harry. Well, well ; 
they '11 both go to the dogs, that 's the amount of it. A 
rolling stone gathers no moss. Harry was good for 
something before he married Ruth ; had a mind of his 
oww. Ruth aint the wife for him." 

" He did not appear to think so," replied the obstinate 
Mrs. Jones. "Everybody in the village says, 'what a 
happy couple they are.' " 

" 0-o-h — my !" hissed the old lady, " did you ever, 
doctor? Of course, Mrs. Jones, you don't suppose 
Harry would be such a fool as to teU people how misera^ 
ble he was ; but mothers, Mrs. Jones, mothers are keen- 
sighted ; can't throw dust in a mother''s eyes."' 

" Nor in mine" retorted the independent Mrs. Jones, 
with a mock courtesy to the old lady, as she walked out 
the door, muttering as she went down the road, " Sally 
Jones wUl tell her the truth if nobody else wUl." 

" Mis. Hall," said the doctor, drawing himself up so 
straight as to snap off his waist-band button, " this is the 
last time that woman ever crosses my threshold. I shall 



ETfTHHALL. 89 

tell Deacon Smith that I consider her a proper subject 
for church discipline ; she 's what the bible calls ' a busy- 
body in other men's matters ;' a character which both 
you and I despise and abominate, Mis. Hall." 



CHAPTEE XXIV. 



IViHE ^first-born ! Oh, other tiny feet may tiif) lightly 
-*- at the hearth-stone ; other rosy faces may greet us 
round the board; with tender love we soothe their 
childish pains and share their childish sports ; but " Ben- 
jamin is not," is written in the secret chamber of many 
a bereaved mother's heart, where never more the echo 
of a childish voice may ring out such liquid music as 
death hath hushed. 

Spring had garlanded the earth with flowers, and 
Autumn had withered them with his frosty breath. 
Many a Summer's sun, and many a Winter's snow, had 
rested on Daisy's grave, since the date of our last chapter. 

At the window of a large hotel in one of those seaport 
towns, the resort alike of the invalid and pleasure-seeker, 
sat Euth ; the fresh sesu-breeze lifting her hair from tem- 
ples thinner and paler than of yore, but stamped with a 
holier beauty. From the window might be seen the 



RUTHHALL. 91 

blue waters of the bay leaping to the bright sunlight ; while 
many a vessel outward and inward bound, spread its 
sails, like some joyous white-winged sea bird. But Ruth 
was not thinking of the sapphire sky, though it were passing 
fair ; nor of the blue sea, decked with its snowy sails ; 
for in her lap lay a little half-worn shoe, with the impress 
of a tiny foot, upon which her tears were falling fast. 

A little half-worn shoe ! And yet no magician could 

conjure up such blissful visions ; no artist could trace 

such vivid pictures ; no harp of sweetest sounds could so 

fill the ear with music. 

I , Eight years since the little Daisy withered ! And yet, 

|( to the mother's eye, she still blossomed fair as Paradise. 

The soft, golden hair still waved over the blue-veined 

temples ; the sweet, earnest eyes still beamed with their 

loving light ; the little fragile hand was still outstretched 

for maternal guidance, and in the wood and by the 

stream they still lingered. Still, the little hymn was 

chanted at dawn, the little prayer lisped at dew-fall ; still, 

that gentle breathing mingled with the happy mother's 

star-lit dreams. 

, A little, bright-eyed creature, crept to Ruth's side, and 

j lifting a long, wavy, golden ringlet from a box on the 

!i table near her, laid it beside her own brown curls. 

" Daisy 's in heaven," said little Katy, musingly. 
"Why do you cry, mamma? Don't you like to have 
God keep her for you ?" 



93 RUTHHALL. 

A tear was the only answer. 

"/should like to die, and have you love my curls as 
you do Daisy's, mother." 

Euth started, and looked at the child ; the rosy flush 
had faded away from little Katy's cheek, and a tear stole 
slowly from beneath her long lashes. 

Taking her upon her lap, she severed one tress of her 
brown hair, and laid it beside little Daisy's golden ring- 
let. 

A bright, glad smile lit up little Katy's face, and she 
was just throwing her arms about her mother's neck, to 
express her thanks, when, stopping suddenly, she drew 
from her dimpled foot one little shoe, and laid it in her 
mother's palm. 

'Mid smOes and tears Euth complied with the mute re- 
quest ; and the little sister shoes lay with the twin ring- 
lets, lovingly side by side. 

Blessed childhood ! the pupil and yet the teacher ; half 
infant, half sage, and whole angel ! what a desert were 
earth without thee ! 



CHAPTEE XXV. 



TTOTEL life is about the same in every latitude. At 
-'•■'- Beach Cliff there was the usual number of vapid, 
fashionable mothers ; dressy, brainless daughters ; halt 
fledged wine-bibbing sons; impudent, whisker-dyed 
rouds; batohelors, anxious to give their bashfulness an 
airing ; bronchial clergymen, in search of health and a 
text ; waning virgins, languishing by candle-light ; gouty 
uncles, dyspeptic aunts, whist-playing old ladies, flirting 
nursery maids and neglected children. 

Then there were " hops " in the hall, and sails upon 
the l£ike ; there were nine-pin alleys, and a gymnasium ; 
there were bathing parties, and horse-back parties ; there 
were billiard rooms, and smoldng rooms ; reading 
rooms, flirtation rooms, — ^room for everything but- 
thought. 

There could be little or nothing in such an artificial 
atmosphei^a congenial with a nature like Ruth's. In all 



94 R U T H U A L L . 

this motley crowd there was but one person who inter- 
ested her, a Mrs. Leon, upon whose queenly figure all 
eyes were bent as she passed ; and who received the 
homage paid her, with an indifference which (whether 
real or assumed) became her passing well. Her hus- 
band was a tall, prim, proper-looking person, who dyed 
his hair and whiskers every Saturday, was extremely 
punctilious in all points of etiquette, very particular in 
his stated inquiries as to his wife's and his horse's health, 
very fastidious in regard to the brand of his wine, and 
the quality of his venison ; maintaining, under all circum- 
stances, the same rigidity of feature, the same immo- 
bility of the cold, stony, gray eye, the same studied, 
stereotyped, conventionalism of manner. 

Euth, although shunning society, found herself drawn 
|to Mrs. Leon by an unaccountable magnetism. Little 
/ Katy, too, with that unerring instinct with which child- 
hood selects from the crowd, an unselfish and loving na- 
ture, had already made rapid advances toward acquaint- 
ance. What road to a mother's heart so /direct, as 
through the heart of her children 1 With Katy for a 
" medium," the two ladies soon found themselves in fre- 
quent conversation. Euth had always' shrunk from 
female friendship. It might be that her boarding-school 
experience had something to do in effecting this whole- 
sale disgust of the commodity. Be that as it may, 
she had never found any woman who had not misunder- 



RUTH HALL. 95 

stood and misinterpreted lier. For the common female 
employments and recreations, she had an unqualified dis- 
gust. Satin patchwork, the manufacture of German 
worsted animals, bead-netting, crotchet-stitching, long 
discussions with milliners, dress-makers, and modistes, 
long forenoons spent in shopping, or leaving bits of 
paste-board, party-giving, party-going, prinking and 
coquetting, all these were her aversion. Equally witji 
1 herself, Mrs. Leon seemed to despise these air bubbles. 
\ Ruth was sure that, under that faultless, marble exterior, 
j a glowing, living, loving heart lay slumbering ; waiting 
j only the enchanter's touch to wake it into life. Tlie 
more she looked into those dark eyes, the deeper seemed 
their depths. Ruth longed, she scarce knew why, to 
make her life happy. Oh, if she Jiad a soul ! 
Ruth thought of Mr. Leon and shuddered. 
Mrs. Leon was often subject to severe and prostrating 
attacks of nervous headache. On these occasions, Ruth's 
magnetic touch seemed to woo coy slumber, like a 
spell ; and the fair sufferer would lie peacefully for hours, 
while Jluth's fingers strayed over her temples, or her 
musical voice, like David's harp, exorcised the demon 
Pain. 

" You are better now," said Ruth, as Mrs. Leon slow- 
ly opened her eyes, and looked about her ; " you have 
had such a nice sleep, I think you vrill be able to join us 
at the tea table to-night. I will brush these long dishev- 



96 RUTH HALL. 

elled locks, and robe these dainty limbs ; though, to my 
eye, you look lovelier just as you are. You are very 
beautiful, Mary. I heard a couple of young ladies dis- 
cussing you, in the • drawing-room, the other evening, en- 
vying your beauty and your jewels, and the magnificence 
of your wardrobe. 

"Did they envy me my husband?" asked Mary, in a 
slow, measured tone. 

" That would have been useless," said Euth, averting 
her eyes ; " but they said he denied you nothing in the 
way of dress, equipage, or ornament." 

" Yes," said Mary ; " I have all those pretty toys to 
satisfy my heart-cravings ; they, equally with myself, are 
necessary appendages to Mr. Leon's establishment. Oh, 
JRuth !" and the tears streamed through her jewelled fin- 
Igers — "4ove me — pity me; you who are so blessed. I 
too could love ; that is the drop of poison in my cup. 
When your daughters stand at the altar, Euth, never 
compel them to say words to which the heart yields no 
response. The chain is none the less galling, because its 
links are golden. God bless you, Ruth ; 'tis long since 
I have shed such tears. You have touched the rock ; for- 
get that the waters have gushed forth.'' 



CHAPTER XXVI. 



r\CTOBER had come ! coy and chill in the morning, 
warm and ■winning at noon, veiling her coat of many 
colors in a fleecy mist at evening, yet lovely still in all 
her changeful moods. The gay butterflies of fashion had 
already spread their shrivelled wings for the wafmer at- 
mosphere of the city. Harry and Ruth still lingered ; — 
there was beauty for them in the hill-side's rainbow dyes, 
in the crimson barberry clusters, drooping from the way- 
side hedges ; in the wUd grape-vine that threw off its 
frost-bitten leaves, to tempt the rustic's hand with its 
purple clusters ; in the piles of apples, that lay gathered 
in parti-colored heaps beneath the orchard trees ; in the 
yellow ears of Indian com, that lay scattered on the seedy 
floor of the breezy barn ; in the festoons of dried apples, 
and mammoth squashes, and pumpkins, that lay ripening 
round the thrifty farmers' doors ; and in the circling 



98~ H U T H H A L J . 

leaves, that came eddying down in brilliant showers on 
the Indian summei's soft but treacherous breath. 



•' You are ill, Harry," said Ruth, laying her hand upon 
his forehead. 

" Slightly so," replied Harry languidly ; " a pain in 
my head, and — " 

A strong ague chill prevented Harry from finishing the 
sentence. 

,, Rut|i,,jrho had never witnessed an attack of this kind, 
grew pale as his teeth chattered, and his powerfiil frame 
shook violently from head to foot. 

" Have you suifered much in this way ?" asked the 
physician who was summoned. 

"I had the fever and ague very badly, some years 
since, at the west," said Harry. " It is an unpleasant 
visitor, doctor ; you must rid me of it as soon as you 
can, for the sake of my little wife, who, though she can en 
dure pain herself like a martyr, is an arrant little coward 
whenever it attacks me. Don't look so sober, Ruth, 1 
shall be better tomorrow. I can not afford time to be sick 
long, for I have a world of business on hand. I had an im- 
portant appointment thip very day, which it is a thousand 
pities to postpone ; but never mind, I shall certainly 
\)e better t«-morrow." 



KUTHHALL. 99 

But Harry wa« not " better to-morrow ;" nor the next 
day ; nor the next ; the doctor pronouncing his case to 
be one of decided typhus fever. 

Very reluctantly the active man postponed his half- 
formed plans, and business speculations, and allowed him- 
self to be placed on the sick list. With a sigh of impar 
tience, he saw his hat, and coat, and boots, put out of 
sight ; and watched the different phials, as they came in 
from the apothecary ; and counted the stroke of the 
clock, as it told the tedious hours ; and marvelled at the 
patience with which (he now recollected) Ruth bore a 
long bed-ridden eight-weeks' martyrdom, without a groan 
or complaint. But soon, other thoughts and images 
mixed confusedly in his brain, like the shifting colors 
of a kaleidoscope. He was floating — drifting — sinking — 
soaring, by turns ; — the hot blood coursed through his 
veins like molten lava ; his eye glared deliriously, and 
the hand, never raised but in blessing, fell, with fevered 
strength, upon the unresisting form of the loving wife. 

" You must have a nurse," said the doctor to Ruth ; 
" it is dangerous for you to watch with your husband 
alone. He might injure you seriously, in one of these 
paroxysms." 

" But Harry has an unconquerable dislilce to a hired 
nurse," said Ruth; "Ms reason may return at any mo- 



100 RUTH HALL. 

ment, and the sight of one will trouble him. I am not 
afraid,"_ replied Ruth, between a tear and a smile. 

" But you will wear yourself out ; you must remem- 
ber that you owe a duty to your children." 

" My husband has the first claim," said Ruth, resum- 
ing her place by the bed-side ; and during the long hours 
of day and night, regardless of the lapse 'Of time — re- 
gardless of hunger, thirst or weariness, she glided noise- 
lessly about the room, arranged the pillows, mixed the 
healing draught, or watched with a silent prayer at the 
sufferer's bed-side ; while Harry lay tossing from side to 
side, his white teeth glittering through his unshorn beard, 
raving constantly of her prolonged absence, and implor- 
ing her in heart-rending tones to come to his side, and 
" bring Daisy from the Glen." 

Many a friendly voice whispered at the door, " How 
is he?" The Irish waiters crossed themselves and 
stept softly through the hall, as they went on their 
hasty errands ; and many a consultation was held among 
warm-hearted gentlemen friends, (who had made Harry's 
acquaintance at the hotel, during the pleasant summer,) 
to decide which should first prove their friendship by 
watching with him. 

Ruth declined all these offers to fill her place. " I will 
never leave him," she said ; " his reason may return, and 
his eye seek vainly for me. No — ^no ; I thank you all. 



RUTH HALL. 101 

Watch with me, if you will, but do not ask me to leave 
him." 

In the still midnight, when the lids of the kind hut 
■weary watchers drooped heavily with slumber, rang 
moumftdly in Ruth's ear the sad- plaint of Gethsemane's 
Lord, "Could ye not watch with me one hour?" and 
pressing her lips to the hot and fevered hand before her, 
she murmured, " I will never leave thee, nor forsake 
thee." 



CHAPTER XXVII. 



" TTAVE you got the carpet-bag, doctor ? and the little 
brown bundle 1 and the russet-trunk ? and the um- 
beril ? and the demi-john, and the red band-box, with my 
best cap in it 1 one — ^two — ^three — ^four ; yes — that 's all 
right. Now, mind those thievish porters. Goodness, 
how they charge here for carriage hire ! I never knew, 
before, how much money it took to journey. Oh dear ! 
I wonder if Harry is worse 1 There now, doctor, 
you 've put your foot right straight through that band- 
box. Now, where, for the land's sake, are my specta- 
cles ? "Es n't possible you 've left them behind ? I put 
them in the case, as you stood there in the chayna closet, 
drinking your brandy and water, and asked you to put 
them in your side-pocket, because my bag was full of 
orange-peels, scissors, camphor, peppermint-drops, and 
seed-cakes. I wouldn't have left 'em for any money. 
Such a sight of trouble as it was to get them focussed 



RUTH HALL. 103 

right to my eyes. How could you, doctor, be so blun- 
dering ? I declare it is enough to provoke a saint." 

" If that 's the case, there 's no immediate call for you 
to get vexed," said the doctor, tartly. 

" Is that the house 1" asked the old lady, her curiosity 
getting the better of her indignation ; " what a big hotel ! 
I wonder if Harry is worse 1 Mercy me, I 'm all of a 
quiver. I wonder if they will take us right into the 
drawing-room ■? I wonder if there 's many ladies in it — 
my bonnet is aw&lly jammed : beside, I 'm so powdered 
with dust, that I look as if I had had an ash barrel sifted 
over me. Doctor ! doctor ! don't go on so far ahead. 
It looks awk'ard, as if I had no protector." 

" How 's Harry f said the doctor, to a white-jaok- 
etted waiter, who stood gossipping on the piazza steps 
with a comrade. 

" Funny old chap !" said the waiter, without noticing 
the doctor's query ; " I say, Bill, look how his hair is 
cut !" 

" 'Taint hair," said Tom, " it is a wig." 

" Bless my eyes ! so it is ; and a red one, too ! Bad 
symptoms ; red wigs are the cheapest ; no extra fees to 
be got out of that customer, for blacking boots and 
bringing hot beafsteaks. Besides, just look at his bag- 
gage ; you can always judge of a traveler. Bill, by his 



104 



RUTH HAI,L. 



trunks; it never fails. Now, / like to see a trunk 
thickly studded with brass nails, and covered with a 
linen overall; then I know, if it is a lady's, that there 's 
mmond rings inside, and plenty of cash ; if 'tis a gen- 
tleman's, that he knows how to order sherry-cobhlers 
ia the forenoon, and a bottle of old wine or two with his 
dinner ; and how to fee the poor fellow who brings it, 
too, who lives on a small salary, with large expectations." 

" How 's Harry ?" thundered the doctor again, (after 
waiting what he considered a reasonable time for an an- 
swer,) " or if yov, are too lazy to tell, you whiskered 
jackanapes, go call your employer." 

The word " employer'' recalled the rambling waiter to 
his senses, and great was his consternation on finding that 
" the old chap with the red wig" was the father of young 
Mr. Hall, who was beloved by everything in the estab- 
lishment, down to old Neptune the house-dog. 

" I told you so," said the doctor, turning to his wife ; 
" Harry 's no better — consultation this morning — ^very 
little hope of him ; — so much for my not being here to 
prescribe for him. Kuth shouldered a great responsibility 
when she brought him away out of reach of my practice. 
You go into that room, there, Mis. Hall, No. 20, with 
your traps and things, and take off your bonnet and keep 
quiet, while I go up and see him." 



CHAPTEE XXVIII. 



" TTUMPH !" said the doctor, "humph !" as Ruth drew 
aside the curtain, and the light fell full upon Harry's 
face. " Humph ! it is all up with him ; he 's in the last 
stage of the complaint; won't live two days;" and step- 
ping to the tahle, the doctor uncorked the different phials, 
applied them to the end of his nose, examined the labels, 
and then returned to the bed-side, where Ruth stood 
bending over Harry, so pallid, so tearless, that one in- 
voluntarily prayed that death, when he aimed his dart, 
might strike down both together. 

" Humph !" said the doctor again ! " when did he have 
his reason last ?" 

" A few moments, day before yesterday," said Ruth, 
without removing her eyes from Harry. 

" Well ; he has been murdered,— j&s murdered, just 
as much as if you had seen the knife put to his throat. 
That tells the whole story, and I don't care who knows 



106 K U T H HALL. 

it. I have been looking at those phials, — ^wrong course 
of treatment altogether for typhoid fever ; fatal mistake. 
His death will lie heavy at somebody's door," and he 
glanced at Ruth. 

" Hush ! he is coming to himself" said Ruth, whose 
eyes had never once moved from her husband. 

" Then I must tell him that his hours are numbered," 
said the doctor, thrusting his hands in his pockets, and 
pompously walking round the bed. 

" No, no," whispered Ruth, grasping his arm with both 
hands ; " you will kill him. The doctor said it might 
destroy the last chance for his life. Don't teU him. You 
know he is not afraid fo die ; but oh, spare him the part- 
ing with me ! it wiU be so hard ; he loves me, father." 

" Pshaw !" said the doctor, shaking her off; " he ought 
X> settle up his affairs whUe he can. I don't know how 
ne wants things fixed. Harry ! Harry !" said he, touch- 
ing his shoulder, "I 've come to see you ; do you know me?" 

" Father !" said Harry, languidly, " yes, I 'm — I 'm 
sick. I shall be better soon ; don't worry about me. 
Where 's my wife ? where 's Ruth V 

"You'll never be better, Harry," said the doctor, 
bluntly, stepping between him and Ruthj "you may 
not live the day out. If you have got anything to say, 
you'd better say it now, before your mind wanders. 
You are a dead man, Harry ; and you know that when 
I say (hat, I know what I 'm talking about." 



RUTH HALL. 107 

The sick man gazed at the speaker, as if he were in a 
dream ; then slowly, and with a great effort, raising 
his head, he looked about the room for Ruth. She was 
kneeling at the bedside, with her face buried in her 
hands. Harry reached out his emaciated hand, and 
placed it upon her bowed head. 

"Ruth? wifel" 

Her arm was about his neck in an instant — her lips to 
his; but her eyes were tearless, and her whole frame 
shook convulsively. 

" Oh, how can I leave you 1 who will care for you 1 
Oh God, in mercy spare me to her;" and Harry fell 
back on his pillow. 

The shock was too sudden ; reason again wandered ; 
he heard the shrill whistle of the cars, recalling him to 
the city's whirl of business ; he had stocks to negotiate ; 
he had notes to pay ; he had dividends due. Then the 
scene changed ; — he could not be carried on a hearse 
through the street, surrounded by a gaping crowd. 
Ruth must go alone with him, by night ; — why must he 
die at all 1 He would take anything. Where was the 
doctor ? Why did they waste time in talking ? Why 
not do something more for him ? How cruel of Ruth to 
let him lie there and die ? 

• " We wUl try this new remedy," said one of the con- 
sulting physicians to Harry's father ; " it is the only 



108 RUTH HALL. 

thing that remains to, be done, and I confess I have no 
faith in its eflSoacy in this case." 

" He rallies again !" said Ruth, clasping her hands. 

" The children !" said Harry ; " bring me the chil- 
dren." 

" Presently," said the new physician ; " try and swal- 
low this first ;" and he raised his head tenderly. 

They were brought him. Little Nettie came first, — 
her dimpled arms and rosy face in strange contrast to 
the pallid lips she bent, in childish glee, to kiss. Then 
little Katy, shrinking with a strange awe from the dear 
papa she loved so much, and sobbing, she scarce knew 
why, at his whispered words, " Be kind to your mother, 
Katy." 

Again Harry's eyes sought Ruth. She was there, but 
a film — a mist had come between them ; he could not 
see her, though he felt her warm breath. 

And now, that powerful frame collected aU its remain- 
ing energies for the last dread contest with death. So 
fearful — so terrible was the struggle, that friends stood 
by, with suppressed breath and averted eyes, whUe Ruth 
alone, with a fearful calmness, hour after hour, wiped the 
death damp from his brow, and the oozing foam from 
his pallid lips. 

" He is gone," said the old doctor, laying Harry's 
hand down upon the coverlid. 



RUTH HALL. 109 

" No ; he breathes again." 

"Ah; that's his last !" 

" Take her away," said the doctor, as Ruth fell heavily 
across her husband's body ; and the unresisting form of 
the insensible wife was borne into the next room. 

Strange hands closed Harry's eyes, parted his damp 
locks, straightened his manly limbs, and folded the mar- 
ble hands over as noble a heart as ever lay cold and still 
beneath a shroud. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

" TT is really quite dreadful to see her in this way," 
-^ said Hyacinth, as they chafed Euth's hands and 
bathed her temples ; " it is really quite dreadful. Some- 
body ought to tell her, when she comes to, that her hair is 
parted unevenly and needs brushing sadly. Harry's finely- 
chiseled features look quite beautiful in repose. It is a 
pity the barber should have been allowed to shave off his 
beard after death; it looked quite oriental and pic- 
turesque. But the sight of Ruth, in this way, is really 
dreadful ; it quite unnerves me. I shall look ten years 
older by to-morrow. I must go down and take a turn or 
two on the piazza." And Hyacinth paced up and down, 
thinking — ^not of the bereaved sister, who lay mercifully 
insensible to her loss, nor yet of the young girl whose 
heart was to throb trustfully at the altar, by his side, on 
the morrow, — but of her broad lands and full coffers, 
with which he intended to keep at bay the haunting eredi- 



RUTH HALL. in 

tors, who were impertinent enough to spoil his daily 
digestion by asking for their just dues. 

One o'clock ! The effect of the sleeping potion admin- 
istered to Euth had passed away. Slowly she unclosed 
her eyes and gazed about her. The weary nurse, forget- 
ful of her charge, had sunk into heavy slumber. 

Where was Harry ? 

Euth presses her hands to her temples. Oh God ! the 
consciousness that would come ! the frantic out-reaching 
of the arms to clasp — a vain shadow ! 

Where had they lain him 1 

She crossed the hall to Harry's sick room ; the key 
was in the lock ; she turned it with trembling fingers. 
Oh God ! the dreadful stillness of that outlined form ! 
the calm majesty of that marble brow, on which the 
naoonbeams fell as sweetly as if that peaceful sleep was 
but to restore him to her widowed arms. That half- 
filled glass, from which his dying lips had turned away ; 
— ^those useless phials ; — that watch — hia watch — moving 
— and he so still ! — the utter helplessness of human aid ;— 
the dreadful might of Omnipotence ! 

" Harry !" 

Oh, when was he ever deaf before to the music of that 
voice 1 Oh, how could Euth (God forgive her!) look 
upon those dumb lips and say, " Thy will be done !" 



112 RUTH HALL. 

"Horrible!" muttered Hyacinth, as the uudertaker 
passed him on the stairs with Harry's coffin. "These 
business details are very shocking to a sensitive person. 
I beg your pardon ; did you address me V said he, to a 
gentleman who raised his hat as he passed. 

" I wished to do so, though an entire stranger to you," 
said the gentleman, with a sympathizing glance, which 
was quite thrown away on Hyacinth. " I have had the 
pleasure of living under the same roof, this summer, with 
your afflicted sister and her noble husband, and have be- 
come warmly attached to both. In common with several 
warm friends of your brother-in-law, I am pained to learn 
that, owing to the failure of parties for whom he had be- 
come responsible, there wUl be little or nothing for the 
widow and her children, when his afTarrs are settled. It is 
our wish to make up a purse, and request her acceptance 
of it, through you, as a slight token of the estimation in 
which we held her husband's many virtues. I under- 
stand you are to leave before the funeral, which must be 
my apology for intruding upon you at so unseasonable 
an hour." 

With the courtliest of bows, in the blandest of tones, 
Hyacinth assured, while he thanked Mr. Kendall, that 
himself, his father, and, indeed, all the members of the 
family, were abundantly able, and most solicitous, to sup- 
ply every want, and anticipate every wish of Ruth and 
her children ; and that it was quite impossible she should 



KUTH HALL. 113 

ever suffer for anything, or be obliged in any way, at any 
future time, to exert herself for her own, or their sup- 
port ; all of which good news for Euth highly gratified 
Mr. Kendall, who grasped the velvet palm of Hyacinth, 
and dashed away a grateful tear, that the promise to the 
widow and fatherless was remembered in heaven. 



CHAPTER XXX. 

" rriHEY are very attentive to us here," remarked the 
■*- doctor, as one after another of Hany's personal 
friends paid their respects, for his sake, to the old couple 
at No. 20. " Very attentive, and yet, Mis. Hall, I only 
practiced physic in this town six months, five years ago. 
It is really astonishing how long a good physician will be 
rememhered," and the doctor crossed his legs comfort- 
ably, and tapped on his snuff-box. 

" Euth's brother, Hyacinth, leaves before the funeral, 
doctor," said the old lady. " I suppose you see through 
that. He intends to be off and out of the way, before 
the time comes to decide where Euth shall put her head, 
after Harry is buried ; and there 's her father, just like 
him ; he has been as uneasy as an eel in a frying-pan, 
ever since he came, and this morning he went off, with- 
out asking a question about Harry's affairs. I suppose he 
thinks it is our business, and he owning bank stock. I tell 



RUTH HALL. 115 

you, doctor, that Euth may go a-begging, for all the 
help she 'U get from lier folks." 

" Or from me, either," said the doctor, thrusting his 
thumbs into the arm-holes of his vest, and striding across 
the room. " She has been a spoiled baby long enough ; 
she will find earning her living a different thing from sit- 
ting with her hands folded, with Harry chained to her 
feet." 

" What did you do with that bottle of old wine, Mis. 
Hall, which I told you to bring out of Harry's room % 
He never dranlc but one glass of it, after that gentleman 
sent it to him, and we might as well have it as to let 
those lazy waiters drink it up. There were two or three 
bunches of grapes, too, he did n't eat ; you had better 
take them, too, while you are about it." 

" Well, it don't seem, after all, as if Harry was dead," 
said the doctor, musingly ; " but the Lord's will be 
done. Here comes your dress-maker, Mia. Hall." 



" Good afternoon, ma'am, good afternoon, sir," said 
Miss Skinlin, with a doleful whine, drawing down 
the corners of her mouth and eyes to suit the occasion. 
" Sad affliction you 've met with. As our minister says, 
' man is like the herb of the field ; blooming to-day, 
withered to-morrow.' Life is short : wiU you have your 
dress gathered or biased, ma'am V 



116 BUTH HALL. 

" Quite immaterial," said the old lady, anxious to ap- 
pear indifferent ; '■ though you may as well, I suppose, 
do it the way which is worn the most." 

" Well, some likes it one way, and then again, some 
likes it another. The doctor's wife in the big, white 
house yonder — do you know the doctor's wife, ma'am ?" 

" No," said the old lady. 

" Nice folks, ma'am ; open-handed ; never mind my giv- 
ing 'em back the change, when they pay me. She was a 
Skefilit. Do you know the Skefilits ? Possible? why 
they are our first folks. Well, la, where was I ] Oh ! the 
doctor's wife has her gowns biased; but then she's getting 
fat,, and wants to look slender. I 'd advise you to have 
yourn gathered. Dreadful afiliction you 've met with, 
ma'am. Beautiful corpse your son is. I always look at 
corpses to remind me of my latter end. Some corpses 
keep much longer than others ; don't you think so, 
ma'am ? They tell me your son's wife is most crazy, 
because they doted on one another so." 

The doctor and his wife exchanged meaning looks. 

" Do tell ?" said Miss Skinlin, dropping her shears. 
" Well, I never ! ' How desaitful the heart is,' as our 
minister says. Why, everybody about here took 'em 
for regular turtle-doves." 

" ' All is not gold that glitters,' remarked the old lady. 
" There is many a heart-ache that nobody knows any- 
thing about, but He who made the heart. In my opin- 



R0THHAL1,. 11? 

ion our son was not anxious to continue in this world of 
trial longer." 

" You don't 1" said Miss Skinlin. " Pious V 

" Certainly" said the doctor. " Was he nof our son ? 
Though, since his marriage, his wife's influence was very 
worldly.'' 

"Pity," whined Miss Skinlin; "professors should let 
their light shine, /always try to drop a word in season, 
wherever business calls me. Will you have a cross-way 
fold on your sleeve, ma'am % I don't think it would be 
out of place, even on this mournful occasion. Mrs. Tufts 
wore one when her eldest child died, and she was dread- 
ful grief-stricken. I remember she gave me (poor dear !) 
a five-dollar note, instead of a two ; but that was a thing 
I had n't the heart to harass her about at such a time. I 
respected her grief too much, ma'am. Did I understand 
you that I was to put the cross-way folds on your sleeve, 
ma'am 1" 

" You may do as you like," whined the old lady ; 
" people do dress more at hotels." 

" Yes," said Miss Skinlin ; " and I often feel reproved for 
aiding and abetting such foolish vanities ; and yet, if I re- 
fused, from conscientious scruples, to trim dresses, I sup- 
pose somebody else would; so you see, it wouldn't do 
any gqpA. Your daughter-in/-law is left rich, I suppose. 
I always* think that 's a great coiuolation to a bereaved 
widow.'' 



118 RUTH HALL. 

" You need n't suppose any such thing," said the dootorj 
facing Miss Skinlin ; " she has n't the first red cent." 

" Dreadful !" shrieked Miss Skinlin. " What is she 
going to do V 

" That tells the whole story," said the doctor ; " sure 
enough, what is she going to do ?'' 

" I suppose she '11 live with yow," said Miss Skinlin, 
suggestively. 

" You needn't suppose tfiat, either," retorted the doc- 
tor. " It is n't every person, Miss Skinlin, who is agree- 
able enough to he taken into one 's house ; hesides, she 
has got folks of her own." 

" Oh,— ah !"— said Miss Skinlin ; " rich ?" 

" Yes, very," said the doctor ; " unless some of their 
poor relatives turn up, in which case, they are always 
dreadfully out of pocket." 

" I un-der-stand," said Miss Skinlin, with a significant 
nod. " Well ; I don't see anything left for her to do, 
but to earn her living, like some other folks." 

" P-r-e-c-i-s-e-1-y," said the doctor. 

" Oh — ah," — said Miss Skinlin, who had at last pos- 
sessed herself of " the whole story. 

" I forgot to ask you how wide a hem I should sdlow on 
your black crape veil," said Miss Skinlin, tying on her 
bonnet to go. " Half a yard width is not considered too 
much for the deepest affliction. Your daughter, t^ widow, 
will probably have that width," said the crafty dress-maker. 



RUTH HALL. 119 

" In my opinion, Ruth is in no deeper affliction than 
we are," said the doctor, growing very red in the face ; 
" although she makes more fuss about it ; so you may 
just make the hem of Mis. Hall's veil half-yard deep too, 
and send the bill into No. 20, where it will be footed 
by Doctor Zekiel Hall, who is not in the habit of or- 
dering what he can't pay for. That tells the whole 
story." 

" Good morning," said Miss Skinlin, with another 
doleful whine. " May the Lord be your support, and let 
the light of His countenance shine upon you, as our min- 
ister says." 



CHAPTER X.XXI. 

QLOWLY the funeral procession wound along. The 
^ gray -haired gate-keeper of the cemetery stepped aside, 
and gazed into the first carriage as it passed in. He saw 
only a pale woman veiled in sable, and two little wonder- 
ing, rosy faces gazing curiously out the carriage win- 
dow. All about, on either side, were graves ; some 
freshly sodded, others green with many a summer's ver- 
dure, and all treasuring sacred ashes, whUe the mourners 
went about the streets. 

" Dust to dust." 

Harry's coffin was lifted from the hearse, and laid upon 
the green sward by the side of little Daisy. Over him 
waved leafy trees, of his own planting ; while through the 
branches the shifting shadows came and went, lending a 
mocking glow to the dead man's face. Little Katy came 
forward, and gazed into the yawning grave till her golden 
curls fell like a veil over her wondering eyes. Ruth 



RUTH HALL. 121 

leaned upon the arm of her cousin, a dry, flinty, ossified 
man of basiness ; a man of angles — a, man of forms — a, 
man with veins of ice, who looked the Almighty in the 
fiice complacently, " thanking God he was not as other 
men are ;" who gazed with stony eyes upon the open 
grave, and the orphan babes, and the bowed form at his 
side, which swayed to and fro like the young tree before 
the tempest blast. 

" Dust to dust !" 

Euth shrinks trembling back, then leans eagerly for- 
ward ; now she takes the last lingering look at features 
graven on her memory with lines of fire ; and now, as the 
earth falls with a hard, hollow sound upon the coffin, a 
lightning thought comes with stunning force to little 
Katy, and she sobs out, " Oh, they are covering my papa 
up ; I can't ever see papa any more." 

" Dust to dust !" 

The sexton smooths the moist earth carefully with his 
reversed spade ; Ruth's eyes follow his movements with 
a strange fascination. Now the carriages roll away one 
after another, and the wooden man turns to Euth and 
says, " Come." She looks into his stony face, then at the 
new-made mound, utters a low, stifled cry, and staggers 
forth with her crushing sorrow. 

Oh, Earth ! Earth ! with thy mocking skies of blue, 
thy placid silver streams, thy myriad, memory-haunt- 
iug odorous flowers, tliy wheels of triumph rolling — ^roU- 
6 



122 KUTH HALL. 

ing on, over breaking hearts and prostrate forms — 
maimed, tortured, crushed, yet not destroyed. Oh, 
mocking Earth ! snatching from our frenzied grasp the 
life-long coveted treasure ! Most treacherous Earth ! are 
these thy unkept promises 1 

Oh, hadst thou no Gethsemane — ^no Calvary^— no guard 
ed tomh — no risen Lord ! 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

" A ND is it Ijecause Biddy M'Pherson don't suit yer, 
that ye 'd be afther sending her away ?" said Ruth's 
nursery maid. 

" No, Biddy," replied Ruth ; " you have been respect- 
ful to me, and kind and faithful to the children, hut I can- 
not afford to keep you now since — " and Ruth's voice 
faltered. 

" If that is all, my leddy," said Biddy, brightening up, 
" then I '11 not be afther laving, sure.'' 

" Thank you," said Ruth, quite moved by her devo- 
tion ; " but you must not work for me without wages. 
Besides, Biddy, I could not even pay your board." 

" And the tears not dry on your cheek ; and the father 
of him and you with plenty of the siller. May the divil 
fly away wid 'em ! Why, Nettie is but a babby yet, 
and Masther used to say you must walk every day, to 
keep oiT the bad headaches ; and it 's coming could 



124 EtTTH HALL. 

weather, and you can't take Nettie out, and you can't 
lave her with Katy ; and anyhow it is n't Biddy 
M'Pherson that '11 be going away intirely." 

The allusion to Harry's tender care of Ruth's health 
opened the wound afresh, and she wept convulsively. 

"I say it 's a shame," said Biddy, becoming more ex- 
cited at the sight of her tears ; " and you can't do it, my 
leddy ; you are as white as a sheet of paper." 

" I must" said Ruth, controlling herself with a violent 
effort ; " say no more, Biddy. I don't know where I am 
going ; but wherever it may be I shall always be glad to 
see you. Katy and Nettie shall not forget their kind 
nurse ; now, go and pack your trunk," said Ruth, assum- 
ing a composure she was far from feeling. " I thank you 
for your kind offer, though I cannot accept it." 

" May the sowls of 'em niver get out of purgatory ; 
that 's Biddy's last word to 'em," said the impetuous Irish 
girl ; " and if the priest himself should say that St. Peter 
would n't open the gate for your leddyship, I would n't 
believe him." And unclasping little Nettie's clinging 
arms from her neck, and giving a hurried kiss to little 
Katy, Biddy went sobbing through the door, with her 
check apron over her broad Irish face. 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

" "IT7"H0 'S that coming up the garden-walk, doctor ?" 
said the old lady ; " Euth's father, as true as the 
■world. Ah ! I understand, we shall see what we shall 
see ; mind you keep a stiff upper lip, doctor." 

" Good morning, doctor," said Mr. Ellet. 

" Good morning, sir," said the doctor, stiffly. 

" Fine place you have here, doctor." 

" Very," replied the doctor. 

" I have just come from a visit to Ruth," said Mr, 
Ellet. 

The imperturbable doctor slightly nodded to his visit- 
or, as he took a pinch of snuff. 

" She seems to take her husband's death very hard." 

" Does she V replied the doctor. 

" I 'm sorry to hear," remarked Mr. EUet, fidgeting in 
his chair, " that there is nothing left for the support of 
the family." 



126 RUTH HALL. 

« 

" So am I," said the doctor. 

" I suppose the world will talk about us, if nothing ia 
done for her," said the non-committal Mr. Ellet. 

" Very likely," replied the doctor. 

" Harry was your child," said Mr. Ellet, suggestively 

" Euth is yours," said the doctor. 

" Yes, I know," said Mr. Ellet ; " but you are better 
off than I am, doctor." 

" I deny it — I deny it," retorted the doctor, fairly 
roused ; " you own the house you live in, and have a 
handsome income, or ought to have," said he, sneeringly, 
" at the rate you live. If you have brought up your 
daughter in extravagance, so much the worse for her ; 
you and Euth must settle that between you. I wash my 
hands of her. I have no objection to take Harry's chil- 
dren, and try to bring them up in a sensible manner ; but, 
in that case, I '11 have none of the mother's interference. 
Then her hands will be free to earn her own living, and 
she 's none too good for it, either. I don't believe in your 
doll-baby women ; she 's proud, you are all proud, all 
jrour family — ^that tells the whole story." 

This was rather plain Saxon, as the increased redness 
of Mr. EUet's ears testified ; but pecuniary considera- 
tions helped him to swallow the bitter pUl without 
making a wry face. 

" I don't suppose Euth could be induced to paxt with 
her children," said Mr. Ellet, meditatively. 



nUTH HALL. 127 

" Let her try to support them then, till she gets 
starved out," replied the doctor. " I suppose you know, 
if the mother's inability to maintain them is proved, 
the law obliges each of the grand-parents to take one." 

This was a new view of the case, and one which im- 
mediately put to flight any reluctance Mr. EUet might 
have had to force Kuth to part with her children ; and 
remarking that he thought upon reflection, that the chil- 
dren would be better off with the doctor, Mr. EUet took 
his leave. 

"I thought that stroke would tell," said the doctor, 
laughing, as Mr. EUet closed the door. 

" Yes, you hit the right naU on the head that time," 
remarked the old lady ; " but those children will be a 
sight of trouble. They never sat stUl five minutes at a 
time, since they were born ; but I '11 soon cure them of 
that. I 'm determined Ruth shan't have them, if they 
fret me to fiddling-strings ; but what an avaricious old 
man Mr. EUet is. We ought to be thankful we have 
more of the gospel spirit. But the clock has struck nine, 
doctor. It is time to have prayers, and go to bed." 
6* 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 

rpHE day was dark and gloomy. Incessant weeping 
-*- and fasting had 'brought on one of Ruth's most vio- 
lent attacks of nervous headache. Ah ! where was the 
hand which had so lately charmed that pain away 1 
where was the form that, with uplifted finger and tiptoe 
tread, hushed the slightest sound, excluded the torturing 
light, changed the heated pillow, and bathed the aching 
temples ? Poor Euth ! nature had been tasked its ut- 
most with sad memories and weary vigils, and she sank 
fainting to the floor. 

Well might the frightened children huddle breathless 
in the farther comer; The coffin, the shroud, and the 
grave, were all too fresh in their childish memory. 
Well might the tearful prayer go up to the only Friend 
they knew, — " Please God, don't take away our mamma, 
too." 



RUTH HALI. 129 

Ruth heard it not ; well had she never woke, but the 
bitter cup was not yet drained. 

" Good morning, Ruth," said her father, (a few hours 
after,) frowning slightly as Ruth's pale face, and the 
swollen eyes of her children, met his view. " Sick f 

" One of my bad headaches," replied Ruth, with a 
quivering lip. • 

" Well, that comes of excitement ; you should n't get 
excited. I never allow myself to worry about what 
can't be helped ; this is the hand of God, and you ought 
to see it. I came to bring you good news. The doctor 
has very generously offered to take both your children 
and support them. It will be a great burden off your 
hands ; all he asks in return is, that he shall have the 
entire control of them, and that you keep away. It is a 
great thing, Ruth, and what I did n't expect of the doc- 
tor, knowing his avaricious habits. Now you '11 have 
something pleasant to think about, getting their things 
ready to go ; the sooner you do it the better. How 
soon, think ?" 

" I can never part with my children," replied Ruth, in 
a voice which, though low, was perfectly clear and dis- 
tinct. 

" Perfect madness," said her father, rising and pacing 
the floor ; " they will have a good home, enough to eat, 
drink, and wear, and be taught — " 



130 RUTH HALL. 

" To disrespect their mother," said Euth, in the same 
clear, low tone. 

" Pshaw," said her father impatiently ; '• do you mean 
to let such a trifle as that stand in the way of their bread 
and butter ? I 'm poor, Euth, or at least I may be to- 
morrow, who knows ? so you must not depend on me ; I 
want you to consider that, before you defuse. Perhaps 
you expect to support them yourself ; you can't do it, 
that 's clear, and if you should refuse the doctor's'offer, 
and then die and leave them, he wouldn't take them." 

" Their Father in Heaven will," said Euth. " He says, 
' Leave thy fatherless children with me.' " 

" Perversion of Scripture, perversion of Scripture," 
said Mr. EUet, foiled with his own weapons. 

Euth replied only with her tears, and a kiss on each 
little head, which had nestled up to her with an indis- 
tinct idea that she needed sympathy. 

" It is of no use getting up a scene, it won't move me, 
Euth," said Mr. Ellet, irritated by the sight of the weep- 
ing group before him, and the faint twinges of his own 
conscience ; " the doctor must take the children, there 's 
nothing else left." 

" Father," said Euth, rising from her couch and stand- 
ing before him ; " my children are all I have left to love ; 
in pity do not distress me by urging what I can never 
grant." 

" As you make your bed, so lie in it," said Mr. Ellet, 



RUTH BALL. 131 

buttoning up his coat, and turning his back upon his 
daughter. 

It was a sight to move the stoutest heart to see Euth 
that night, Icneeling by the side of those sleeping chil- 
dren, with upturned eyes, and clasped hands of en- 
treaty, and lips from which no sound issued, though her 
heart was quivering with agony ; and yet a pitying Eye 
looked down upon those orphaned sleepers, a pitying Ear 
bent low to list to the widow's voiceless prayer. 



CHAPTER XXXV. 

"ITfELL, Mis. Hall, you have got your answer. Ruth 
won't part with the children," said the doctor, as 
lie refolded Mr. Ellet's letter. 

" I believe you have lived with me forty years, come 
last January, have n't you, doctor 1" said his amiable 
spouse. 

" What of that ? I don't see where that remark is 
going to fetch up, Mis. Hall," said the doctor. "You 
are not as young as you might be, to be sure, but I 'm no 
boy myself." 

" There you go again, off the track. I did n't make 
any allusion to my age. It 's a thing I never do. It 's a 
thing I never wish you to do. I repeat, that I have lived 
with you these forty years ; well, did you ever know me ^ 
back out of anything I undertook ? Did you ever see 
me foiled 1 That letter makes no difference with me ; 
Harry's children I 'm determined to have, sooner or later. 



KUTH HALL. 133 

What can't be had by force, must be had by stratagem. 
I propose, therefore, a compromise, {pro-tem.) You and 
Mr. EUet had better agree to furnish a certain sum for 
awhile, for the support of Ruth and her children, giving 
her to understand that it is discretionary, and may atop 
at any minute. That will conciliate Ruth, and will look 
better, too. 

" The fact is, Miss Taffety told me yesterday that she 
heard some hard talking about us down in the village, 
between Mrs. Rice and Deacon Gray (whose child Ruth 
watched so many nights with, when it had the scarlet 
fever). Yes, it will have a better look, doctor, and we 
can withdraw the allowance whenever the ' nine days' 
wonder ' is over. These people have something else to 
do than to keep track of poor widows." 

" I never supposed a useless, fine lady, like Ruth, 
would rather work to support her children than to give 
them up ; but I don't give her any credit for it now, for 
I 'm quite sure it 's all sheer obstinacy, and only to spite 
us," continued the old lady. 

" Doctor !" and the old lady cocked her head on one 
side, and crossed her two forefingers, " whenever — you — 
see — a — ^blue-eyed — soft- voiced — gentle — woman, — look 
— out — for — a — hurricane. I tell you that placid Ruth is 
a smouldering volcano. 

" That tells the whole story," said the doctor. " And 
speaking of volcanoes, it won't be so easy to make Mr. 



134 RUTHHALI,. 

Ellet subscribe anything for Euth's support; he thinks 
more of one cent than of any child he ever had. I am 
expecting him every moment, Mis. Hall, to talk over our 
proposal about Euth. Perhaps you had better leave us 
alone ; you knovf you have a kind of irritating way if any- 
thing comes across you, and you might upset the ■whole 
business. As to my paying anything towards Euth's 
board unless he does his full share, you need n't fear." 

" Of course not ; well, I'U leave you," said the old 
lady, with a sly glance at the china closet, " though I 
doubt if you understand managing him alone. Now I 
could wind him round my little finger in five minutes if 
I chose, but I hate to stoop to it, I so detest the whole 
family." 

" I '11 shake hands with you there," said the doctor ; 
" but that puppy of a Hyacinth is my especial aversion, 
though Euth is bad enough in her way ; a mincing, con- 
ceited, tip-toeing, be-curled, be-perfumed popinjay — 
faugh ! Do you suppose, Mis. Hall, there can be any- 
thing in a man who wears fancy neck-ties, a seal ring on 
his little finger, and changes his coat and vest a dozen 
times a day ? No ; he 's a sensuous fop, that tells the 
whole story ; ought to be picked up with a pair of sugar- 
tongs, and laid carefully on a rose-leaf. Ineffable 

puppy !" 

" They made a great fuss about his writings," said the 
old lady. 



R t' T II HALL. 135 

" Who made a fuss ? Fudge — there 's that piece of his 
about ' The Saviour' ; he describes him as he would a 
Broadway dandy. That fellow is all surface, I tell you ; 
there 's no depth in him. How should there be ? Is n't 
he an Ellet % but look, here comes his father." 

" Good day, doctor. My time is rather limited this 
morning," said Ruth's father nervously ; " was it of 
Ruth you wished to speak to me ?" 

" Yes,'' said the doctor ; " she seems to feel so badly 
about letting the children go, that it quite touched my 
feelings, and I thought of allowing her something for 
awhile, towards their support." 

" Very generous of you," said Mr. Ellet, infinitely re- 
lieved ; " very.'' 

" Yes," continued the doctor, " I heard yesterday that 
Deacon Gray and Mrs. Rice, two very influential church 
members, were talking hard of you and me about this mat- 
ter ; yes, as you remarked, Mr. Ellet, I am generous, and 
I am willing to give Ruth a small sum, for an unspecified 
time, provided you will give her the same amount." 

" Me ?" said Mr. Ellet ; " me ? — I am a poor man, dofr- 
tor ; should n't be surprised any day, if I had to mort- 
gage the house I live in : you would n't have me die in 
the almshouse, would you 1" 

" No ; and I suppose you would n't be willing that 



136 



R r T H HALL. 



Euth should ?" said the doctor, who could take her part 
when it suited him to carry a point. 

" Money is tight, money is tight," said old Mr. Ellet, 
frowning ; " when a man marries his children, they ought 
to be considered off his hands. I don't know why I 
should be called upon. Ruth went out of my family, 
and went into yours, and there she was when her trouble 
came. Money is tight, though, of course, you don't feel 
it, doctor, living here on your income with your hands 
folded." 

" Yes, yes," retorted the doctor, getting vexed in his 
turn ; " that all sounds very well ; but the question is, 
what is my ' income' 1 Beside, when a man has earned 
his money by riding six miles of a cold night, to pull a 
tooth for twenty-five cents, he don't feel like throwing it 
away on other folks' children." 

'' Are not those children as much your grand-children 
as they are mine T said Mr. Ellet, sharply, as he peered 
over his spectacles. 

" Well, I don't know about that," said the doctor, tak- 
ing an .(Esculapian view of the case ; " should n't think 
they were — ^blue eyes — sanguine temperament, like their 
mother's — ^not much Hall blood in 'em I fancy ; more 's 
the pity." 

" It is no use being uncivil," said Mr. Ellet, reddening. 
'' /never am uncivil. I came here because I thought you 



nUTH HALL. 137 

nad something to say ; if you have not, I'll go ; my time 
is precious." 

" You have not answered my question yet," said the 
doctor ; " I asked you, if you would give the same that I 
would to Ruth for a time, only a short time 1" 

" The fact is, Mr. Ellet," continued the doctor, forced to 
fall back at last upon his reserved argument ; " we are 
both church members ; and the churches to which we be- 
long have a way (which I think is a wrong way, but that 's 
neither here nor there) of meddling in these little fam- 
ily matters. It would not be very pleasant for you or me 
to be catechised, or disciplined by a church committee ; 
and it 's my advice to you to avoid such a disagreeable 
alternative : they say hard things about us. We have a 
Christian reputation to sustain, brother Ellet," and the 
doctor grew pietistio and pathetic. 

Mr. Ellet looked anxious. If there was 'anything he 
particularly prided himself upon, it was his reputation for 
devoted piety. Here was a desperate struggle — mammon 
pulling one way, the church the other. The doctor saw 
his advantage, and followed it. 

" Come, Mr. Ellet, what will you give ? here 's a piece 
of paper ; put it down in black and white," said the vig- 
ilant doctor. 

" Never put anything on paper, never put anything on 
paper," said Mr. Ellet, in a solemn tone, with a ludic- 



138 KtJTH HALL. 

rously frightened air ; " parchments, lawyers, witnesses, 
and things, make me nervous." 

" Ha ! ha !" chuclded the old lady from her hiding- 
place in the china-closet. 

" Well, then, if you won't put it on paper, tell me what 
you will give," said the persistent doctor. 

" I '11 think about it," said the frenzied Mr. EUet, seiz- 
ing his hat, as if instant escape were his only safety. 

The doctor followed him into the hall. 

" Did you make him do it ?" asked the old lady, in a 
hoarse whisper, as the doctor entered. 

" Yes ; but it was like drawing teeth," replied the doc- 
tor. " It is astonishing how avaricious he is ; he may not 
stick to his promise now, for he would not put it on pa- 
per, and there was no witness." 

" Was n't there though f said the old lady, chuckling. 
" Trust me for that." 



CHAPTEE XXXVI. 

TN a dark, narrow street, in one of those heterogeneous 
boarding-houses abounding in the city, where clerks, 
market-boys, apprentices, and sewing-girls, bolt their 
meals with railroad velocity ; where the maid-of-all-work, 
with red arms, frowzy head, and leathern lungs, screams 
in the entry for any boarder who happens to be inquired 
for at the door ; where one plate suffices for fish, flesh, 
fowl, and dessert ; where soiled table-cloths, sticky crock- 
ery, oily cookery, and bad grammar, predominate ; 
where greasy cards are shuffled, and bad cigars smoked 
of an evening, you might have found Euth and her chil- 
dren. 

" Jim, what do you think of her ?" said a low-browed, 
pig-faced, thick-lipped fellow, with a flashy neck-tie and 
vest, over which several yards of gilt watch-chain were 
festooned ostentatiously ; " prettyish, is n't she 1" 

" Deuced nice form," said Jim, lighting a cheap cigar, 



140 RUTH HALL. 

and hitching his heels to the mantel, as he took the first 
whiff; " I shouldn't mind kissing her." 

" You V said Sam, glancing in an opposite mirror ; " I 
flatter myself you would stand a poor chance when your 
humble servant was round. If I had not made myself 
scarce, out of friendship, you would not have made such 
headway with black-eyed Sue, the little milliner." 

" Pooh," said Jim, " Susan Gill was delf, this little 
widow is porcelain ; I say it is a deuced pity she should 
stay up stairs, crying her eyes out, the way she does." 

" Want to marry her, hey 1" said Sam, with a sneer. 

" Not I ; none of your ready-made families for me ; 
pretty foot, has n't she ? I always put on my coat in the 
front entry, about the time she goes up stairs, to get a 
peep at it. It is a confounded pretty foot, Sam, bless 
me if it is n't ; I should like to drive the owner of it 
out to the race-course, some pleasant afternoon. I must 
say, Sam, I like widows. I don't know any occupation 
more interesting than helping to dry up their tears ; and 
then the little dears are so grateful for any little atten- 
tion. Wonder if my swallow-tailed coat won't be done 
to-day ? that rascally tailor ought to be snipped with his 
own shears." 

"Well, now, I wonder when you gentlemen intend 
taking yourselves off, and quitting the drawing-room," 
said the loud-voiced landlady, perching a cap over hej 



RUTH HAIL. 141 

disheveled tresses ; " this parlor is the only place I 
have to dress in ; can't you do your talking and smoking 
in your own rooms 1 Come r ow — here 's a lot of news- 
papers, just take them and be off, and give a woman a 
chance to make herself beautiful." 

" Beautiful !" exclaimed Sam, " the old dragon ! she 
would make a good scarecrow for a corn-field, or a fig- 
ure-head for a piratical cruiser ; beautiful !" and the 
speaker smoothed a wrinkle out of his flashy yellow 
vest ; " it is my opinion that the uglier a woman is, the 
more beautiful she thinlis herself; also, that any of the 
sex may be bought with a yard of ribbon, or a breastpin." 

" Certainly," said Jim, " you need n't have lived to 
this time of life to have made that discovery ; and speak- 
ing of that, reminds me that the little widow is as poor 
as Job's turkey. My washerwoman, confound her for 
ironing off my shirt-buttons, says that she wears her 
clothes rough-dry, because she can't afford to pay for both 
washing and ironing." 

"She does?" replied Sam; "she'll get tired of that 
after awhile. I shall request ' the dragon,' to-morrow, to 
let me sit next her at the table. I '11 begin by helping the 
children, offering to cut up their victuals, and all that sort 
of thing — that will please the mother, you know ; hey ? 
But, by Jove ! it 's three o'clock, and I engaged to drive 
a gen'lemen down to the steamboat landing ; now some 
other hackney coach will get the job. Confound it !" 



CHAPTER XXXVII. 

pOUNTING houses, like aU other spots beyond the 
pale of female jurisdiotion, are comfortless looking 
places. The counting-room of Mr. Tom Develin was 
no exception to the above rule ; though we will do 
him the justice to give in« our affidavit, that the ink-stand, 
for seven consecutive years, had stood precisely in the 
same spot, bounded on the north by a box of letter 
stamps, on the south by a package of brown business en- 
velopes, on the east by a pen wiper, made originally in the 
form of a butterfly, but which frequent ink dabs had 
transmuted into a speckled caterpillar, on the west by 
half sheets of blank paper, rescued economically from 
business letters, to save too prodigal consumption of 
foolscap. 

It is unnecessary to add that Mr. Tom Develin was a 
bachelor ; perpendicular as a ram-rod, moving over terra 
firma as if fearfiil his joints would unhinge, or his spinal 
column slip into his boots ; carrying his arms with mili- 
tary precision ; supporting his ears with a collar, never 



RtTTH HALL. 143 

known by 'the oldest inhabitant' to be limpsey; and 
stepping circumspectly in boots of mirror-like brightness, 
never defiled with the mud of the world. 

Perched on his apple-sized head, over plastered ww- 
proof locks, was the shiniest of hats, its wearer turning 
neither to the right nor the left ; and, although possessed 
of a looking-glass, laboring under the hallucination that 
he, of all masculine moderns, was most dangerous to the 
female heart. 

Mr. Develin's book store was on the west side of 
Literary Eow. His windows were adorned with pla- 
cards of new theological publications of the blue-school 
order, and engravings of departed saints, who with their 
last breath had, with mock humility, requested brother 
somebody to write their obituaries. There was, also, to 
be seen there an occasional oil painting " for sale," se- 
lected by Mr. Develin himself, with a peculiar eye to the 
greenness of the trees, the blueness of the sky, and the 
moral " tone " of the picture. 

Mr. Develin congratulated himself on his extensive ac- 
quaintance with clergymen, professors of colleges, stu- 
dents, scholars, and the literati generally. By dint of 
patient listening to their desultory conversations, he had 
picked up threads of information on literary subjects, 
which he carefully wound around his memory; to be 
woven into his own t&te-a-tfetes, where such information 
would "tell;" always, of course, omitting quotation 



144 EUTH HALL. 

marks, to which some writers, as well as conversationists, 
have a constitutional aversion. It is not surprising, there- 
fore, that his tfete-a-tfetes should be on the mosaic order ; 
the listener's interest being heightened by the fact, that 
he had not, wnen in a state of pinafore, cultivated Lindley 
Murray too assiduously. 

Mr. Develin had fostered his bump of caution with a 
truly praiseworthy care. He meddled very gingerly 
with new publications ; in fact, transacted business on the 
old fogy, stage-coach, rub-a-dub principle ; standing back 
with distended eyes, and suppressed breath, iu holy hor- 
ror of the whistle, whiz-rush and steam of modern pub- 
lishing houses. " A penny saved, is a penny gained," 
said this eminent financier and stationer, as he used half, 
a wafer to seal his business letters. 

" Any letters this morning ?" said Mr. Develin to 
his clerk, as he deposited his umbrella iu the north- 
west corner of his counting-room, and re-smoothed his 
unctuous, unruffled locks ; " any letters V and taking a 
package from the clerk's hand, he circumspectly lowered 
himself between his coat-tails into an arm-chair, and 
leisurely proceeded to their inspection. 

" Mr. Develin : — 

" Sir, — I take the liberty, knowing you to be one of 
the referees about our son's estate, which was left in a 



HUTH HALL. 145 

dreadful confusion, owing probably to his wife's thrift- 
lessness, to request of you a small favor. When our 
son died, he left a great many clothes, vests, coats, pants, 
&c., which his wife, no doubt, urged his buying, and 
which, of course, can be of no use to her now, as she 
never had any boys, which we always regretted. I take 
my pen in hand to request you to send the clothes to me, 
as they will save my tailor's bill ; please send, also, a cir- 
cular broadcloth cloak, faced with velvet, his cane, hs-ts, 
and our son's Bible, which Ruth, of course, never lookft 
into — ^we wish to use it at family prayers. Please send 
them all at your earliest convenience. Hoping you are 
in good health, I am yours to command, 

"Zbkiel Hall." 

Mr. Develin re-folded the letter, crossed his legs and 
mused, "^e law allows the widow the husband's wear- 
ing apparel, but what can Euth do with it ? (as the doc- 
tor says, she has no boys,) and with her peculiar notions, 
it is not probable she would sell the clothes. The law is 
on her side, undoubtedly, but luckily she knows no more 
about law than a baby ; she is poor, the doctor is a man 
of property ; Ruth's husband was my friend to be sure, 
but a man must look out for No. 1 in this world, and 
consider a little what would be for his own interest. 
The doctor may leave me a little slice of property if I 
keep on the right side of him, who knows ? The clothes 
must be sent." 7 



CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

« 'mis N'T a pretty place," said little Katy, as she 

-^ looked out the window upon a row of brick walls, 
dingy sheds, and discolored chimneys; " 'tis n't a pretty 
place, mother, I want to go home." 

" Home !" Ruth started ! the word struck a chord 
which vibrated — oh how painfully. 

"Why donH we go home, mother?" continued Katy; 
" won't papa ever, ever, come and take us away 1 there 
is something in my throat which makes me want to cry 
all the time, mother," and Katy leaned her curly head 
wearily on her mother's shoulder. 

Ruth took the child on her lap, and averting her eyes, 
said with a forced smile : 

" Little sister don't cry, Katy." 

" Because she is a little baby, and don't know any- 
thing," replied Katy ; " she used to stay with Biddy, but 
papa used to take me to walk, and toss me up to the wall 



KDTH HALL. 147 

when he came home, and make rabbits with his fingers 
on the wall after tea, and take me on his knee and tell 
me about little Bed Kidmg Hood, and — oh, I want papa, 
I want papa," said the child, with a fresh burst of tears. 

Ruth's tears fell like rain on Katy's little up-turned 
face. Oh, how could she, who so much needed comfort, 
speak words of cheer? How could her tear-dimmed eyes 
and palsied hand, 'mid the gloom of so dark a night, see, 
and arrest a sunbeam 1 

" Katy, dear, kiss m.e ; you loved papa — ^it grieved you 
to see him sick and suffering. Papa has gone to heaven, 
where there is no more sickness, no more pain. Papa is 
happy now, Katy." 

" Happy 1 without me, and you, and Nettie," said 
Katy, with a grieved lip 1 

Oh, far-reaching — questioning childhood, who is suffi- 
cient for thee ? How can lips, which so stammeringly 
repeat, ' thy will be done,' teach thee the lesson perfect 1 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 



"pOOD morning, Mrs. Hall," said Mr. Develia, 
handing Ruth the doctor's letter, and seating him- 
himself at what he considered a safe distance from a 
female ; " I received that letter from the doctor this 
morning, and I think it would be well for you to attend 
to his request as soon as possible." 

Ruth perused the letter, and handed it back with a 
trembling hand, saying, " 'tis true the clothes are of no 
use, but it is a great comfort to me, Mr. Develin, to keep 
everything that once belonged to Harry." Then pausing 
a moment, she asked, " have they a legal right to demand 
those things, Mr. Develin ?" 

"I am not very well versed in law," replied Mr. 
Develin, dodging the imexpected question ; " but you 
know the doctor does n't bear thwarting, and your chil- 
dren — ^in fact — " Here Mr. Develin twisted his thumbs 
and seemed rather at a loss. " Well, the fact ijb, Mrs. 



RUTH HALL. 149 

llall, in the present state of your affairs, you oannot 
afford to refiise." 

« True," said Euth, mournfully, " true." 

Harry's clothes were collected from the drawers, one 
by one, and laid upon the sofa. Now a little pencilled 
memorandum fluttered from the pocket; now a hand- 
kerchief dropped upon the floor, slightly odorous of 
cologne, or cigars ; neck-ties there were, shaped by his 
full round throat, with the creases stiE in the silken folds, 
and there was a crimson smoking cap, Euth's gift — the 
gUt tassel slightly tarnished where it had touched the 
moist dark locks ; then his dressing-gown, which Euth 
herself had often playfully thrown on, while combing her 
hair — each had its little history, each its tender home 
associations, daguerreotyping, on tortured memory, sunny 
pictures of the past. 

" Oh, I cannot — ^I cannot," said Euth, as her eye fell 
upon Harry's wedding-vest ; " oh, Mr. Develin, I cannot." 

Mr. Develin coughed, hemmed, walked to the window, 
drew off his gloves, and drew them on, and finally said, 
anxious to terminate the interview, " I can fold them up 
quicker than you, Mrs. Hall." 

" If you please," replied Euth, sinking into a chair ; 
" this you will leave me, Mr. Develin," pointing to the 
white satin vest. 

"Y-e-s," said Mr. Develin, with an attempt to be fa- 
cetious. " The old doctor can't use that, I suppose." 



150 



RUTH HALL. 



The trunk was packed, the key turned in the lock, and 
the porter in -waiting, preceded by Mr. Develin, shoulder- 
ed his burden, and followed him down stairs, and out into 
the street. 

And there sat Euth, with the tears dropping one after 
another upon the wedding vest, over which her fingers 
strayed caressingly. Oh, where was the heart which had 
throbbed so tumultuously beneath it, on that happy bridal 
eve? With what a dirge-like echo fell upon her tor- 
tured ear those bridal words, — " till death do us part." 



CHAPTER XL, 



" rrOM Herbert, are you aware that this is the sixth 
spoonful of sugar you have put in that cup of tea ? 
and what a forlorn face ! I 'd as lief look at a tombstone. 
Now look at me. Did you ever see such a fit as that 
boot ? Is not my hair as smooth and as glossy as if I 
expected to dine with some other gentleman than my 
husband? Is not this jacket a miracle of shapeliness? 
Look what a foil you are to all this loveliness ; lack-lustre 
eyes — ^mouth drawn down at the corners : you are a dose 
to contemplate." 

" Mary," said her husband, without noticing her rail- 
lery ; " do you remember Mrs. HaU ?" 

" Mrs. HaU," replied Mary ; " oh, Euth EUet ? yes ; 
I used to go to school with her. She has lost her husband, 
they say." 

" Yes, and a fine noble fellow he was too, and very 
proud of his wife. I remember he used to come into the 



152 RUTH HALL. 

Store, and say, with one of his pleasant smiles, ' Herbert, 
I wonder if you have anything here handsome enough for 
my wife to wear.' He bought all her clothes himself 
even to her gloves and boots, and was as tender and care- 
ful of her as if she were an infant. Well, to-day she 
came into my store, dressed in deep mourning, leading 
her two little girls by the hand, and asked to see me. 
And what do you think she wanted 1" 

" I am sure I don't know," said Mary, carelessly ; " a 
yard of black crape, I suppose." 

" She wanted to know," said Mr. Herbert, " if I could 
employ her to make up and trim those lace collars, caps, 
and under sleeves we sell at the store. I teU you, Mary, 
I could scarce keep the tears out of my eyes, she looked 
so sad. And then those poor little children, Mary ! I 
thought of you, and how terrible it would be if you and 
our little Sue and Charley were left so destitute." 

" Destitute V replied Mary ; " why her father is a man 
of property ; her brother is in prosperous circumstances ; 
and her cousin lives in one of the m^ost fashionable squares 
in the city." 

" Yes, wife, I know it ; and that makes it all the harder 
for Mrs. Hall to get employment ; because, people know- 
ing this, take it for granted that her relatives help her, or 
ought to, and prefer to give employment to others whom 
they imagine need it more. This is natural, and perhaps I 
should have thought so too, had it been anybody but 



KUTH HALL. 158 

Harry Hall's wife ; but all I could think of was, what 
Harry (poor fellow !) would have said, had he ever 
thought his little pet of a wife would have come begging 
to me for employment." 

" What did you tell her ?" said Mary. 

" Why — you know the kind of work she wished, is 
done by forty hands, in a room directly over the store, 
under the superintendence of Betsy Norris ; of course, 
they would all prefer doing the work at home, to com- 
ing down there to do it ; but that is against our rules, 
I told her this, and also that if I made an exception is 
her favor, the forewoman would know it, because she had 
to prepare the work, and that would cause dissatisfaction 
among my hands. What do you think she said? she 
offered to come and sit down among those girls, and work 
with them. My God, Mary ! Harry HaU's wife ! 

" Of course that was out of the question, wife, for she 
could not bring her two children there, and she had no 
one to leave them with, and so she went away ; and I 
looked after her, and those little bits of children, till they 
were out of sight, trying to devise some way to get her 
employment. Cannot you thiok of anything, Mary ? 
Are there no ladies you know, who would give her nice 
needlework ?" 

"I don't know anybody but Mrs. Slade," replied 
Mary, " who puts out work of any consequence, and she 
told me the other day that she never employed any of 
7* 



154 



RUTH HALL. 



those persons who 'had seen better days;' that some- 
how she couldn't drive as good a bargain with thena as 
she could with a common person, who was ignorant of 
the value of their labor." 

" God help poor Mrs. Hall, then," exclaimed Harry, 
"if all the sex are as heartless! We must contrive 
some way to help her, Mary — ^help her to employment, I 
mean, for I know her well enough to be sure that she 
would accept of assistance in no other way." 



CHAPTER ILL 

" TS this the house V said one of two ladies, pausing 
before Euth's lodgings. 

" I suppose so," replied the other lady ; " they said it 

was No. 50 street, but it can't be, either ; Euth HaU 

could n't liye in such a place as this. Just look at that 
red-faced Irish girl leaning out the front window on her 
elbows, and see those vulgar red bar-room curtains ; I 
declare, Mary, if Euth Hall has got down hill so far as 
this, /can't keep up her acquaintance ; just see how they 
stare at us here ! if you choose to call you may — faugh ! 
just smell that odor of cabbage issuing from the first 
entry. Come, come, Mary, take your hand off the 
knocker; I wouldn't be seen in that vulgar house for a 
kingdom." 

" It seems heartless, though," said the other lady, blush- 
ing slightly, as she gathered up her six flounces in her 
delicately gloved-hand ; "do you remember the after- 



156 RUTH HALL. 

noon we rode out to their pretty country-seat, and had 
that delicious supper of strawberries and cream, under 
those old trees 1 and do you remember how handsome 
and picturesque her husband looked in that broad Pan- 
ama hat, raking up the hay when the thunder-shower 
came up ? and how happy Ruth looked, and her children 1 
"Es a dreadful change for her, I declare ; if it were me, I 
believe I should cut my throat." 

" That is probably just what her relatives would like 
to have her do," replied Mary, laughing ; " they are as 
much mortified at her being here, as you and I are to be 
seen in such a quarter of the city." 

" Why don't they provide for her, then," said the other 
lady, " at least till she can turn round 1 that youngest 
child is only a baby yet." 

" Oh, that's their affair," answered Mary, " don't bother 
about it. Hyacinth has just married a rich, fashionable 
wife, and of course he cannot lose caste by associating 
with Huth now; you cannot blame him." 

" Well, that don't prevent him from helping her, does 

itr 

" Good gracious, Gertrude, do stop ! if there 's any- 
thing I hate, it is an argument. It is clearly none of our 
business to take her up, if her own people don't do it. 
Come, go to La Temps' with me, and get an ice. 
What a love of a collar you have on ; it is handsomer 
thaa paiae, which I gave fifty dollars for, but what is fifty 



BUTH HALL. 157 

dollars, when one fancies a thing 1 If I did n't make my. 
husband's money fly, his second wife would ; so I will 
save her ladyship that trouble ;" and with an arch toss of 
her plumed head, the speaker and her companion entered 
the famous saloon of La Temps, where might be seen 
any sunny day, between the hours of twelve and three, 
the disgusting spectacle of scores of ladies devouring, ad 
infinitum, hrandy-drops, Roman punch, Charlotte Russe, 
pies, cakes, and ices ; and sipping " parfait amour," till 
their flushed cheeks and emancipated tongues prepared 
them to listen and reply to any amount of questionable 
nonsense from their attendant rou6 cavaliers. 



CHAPTER XLII. 

" QOME folks' pride runs iu queer streaks," said 
^ Betty, as she turned a beefsteak on the gridiron • 
" if I lived in such a grand house as this, and had so 
many fine clothes, I would n't let my poor cousin stand 
every Monday in my kitchen, bending over the wash-tub, 
and rubbing out her clothes and her children's, with my 
servants, till the blood started from her knuckles." 

" Do you know what dis chil' would do, if she were 
Missis Euth Hall V asked Gatty. « Well, she 'd jess go 
right up on dat shed fronting de street, wid 'em, and 
hang 'em right out straight before all de grand neighbors, 
and shame Missus Millet; dat's what dis chil' would 
do." 

" Poor Mrs. Euth, she knows too much for that," re- 
plied Betty ; " she shoulders that great big basket of 
damp clothes and climbs up one, two, three, four flights 
of stairs to hang them to dry in the garret. Did you see 



RUTH HALL. 159 

her sit down on the stairs last Monday, looking so pale 
about the mouth, and holding on to her side, as if she 
never would move again ?" 

" Yes, yes," said Gatty, " and here now, jess look at de 
fust peaches of de season, sent in for dessert ; de Lor' 
he only knows what dey cost, but niggers musn't see 
noffing, not dey, if dey wants to keep dere place. But 
white folks is stony-hearted, Betty." 

" Turn that steak over," said Betty ; " now get the 
pepper ; work and talk too, that 's my motto. Yes, Gat- 
ty, I rememter when Mrs. Euth's husband used to ride 
up to the door of a fine morning, and toss me a large bou- 
quet for Mrs. Millet, which Mrs. Euth had tied up for 
her, or hand me a box of big strawberries, or a basket 
of plums, or pears, and how all our folks here would 
go out there and stay as long as they liked, and use the 
horses, and pick the fruit, and the like of that." 

" Whar 's her brudder, Massa Hyacinth 1 Wonder if 
he knows how tings is gwyin on V asked Gatty. 

" He knows fast enough, only he don't know," replied 
Betty, with a sly wink. " I was setting the table the 
other day, when Mrs. Millet read a letter from him to 
her husband. It seems he 's got a fine place in the coun- 
try, where he lives with his new bride. Poor thing, I 
hope he won't break her heart, as he did his first wife's. 
Well, he told how beautiful his place was, and how much 
money he had laid out on his garden, and hot-house, and 



160 RUTH HALL. 

things, and invited Mrs. Millet to come and see Mm; 
and then he said, ' he 'sposed Mrs. Ruth was getting on ; 
he did n't know anything ahout her.'' 

" Know ahout de debbel !" exclaimed Gatty, throwing 
down the pepper castor; "wonder whose fault dat is, 
Betty 1 'Spose all dese folks of ours, up stairs, will go 
to de hressed place? When I heard Massa Millet 
have prayers dis morning, I jess wanted to ask him dat. 
You 'member what our minister, Mr. Snowball, said las' 
Sunday, 'bout de parabola of Dives and Lazarus, hey V 

" Parable," said Betty contemptuously • •' Gatty, you 
are as ignorant as a hippopotamus. Come, see that 
steak now, done to a crisp ; won't you catch it when you 
take it into breakfast. It is lucky I can cook and talk 
too." 



CHAPTER XLIII. 

" SOMETHING for you, ma'am," said the maid-of-alt 
-work to Eiith, omitting the ceremony of a premoni- 
tory knock, as she opened the door. " A bunch of flow- 
ers ! handsome enough for Queen Victory ; and a basket 
of apples all done up in green leaves. It takes widders 
to get presents," said the girl, stowing away her tongue 
in her left cheek, as she partially closed the door. 

" Oh, how pretty !" exclaimed little Nettie, to whom 
those flowers were as fair as Eve's first view of Paradise. 
" Give me one posy, mamma, only one ;" and the little 
chubby hands were outstretched for a tempting rose- 
bud. 

" But, Nettie, dear, they are not for me," said Euth ; 
" there must be some mistake." 

" Not a bit, ma'am," said the girl, thrusting her head 
into the half-open door; "the boy said they were 'for 
Mrs. Euth Hall,' as plain as the nose on my fece ; and 



162 KUTH HALL. 

that 's plain enough, for I reckon I should have got mar- 
ried long ago, if it had n't been for my hig nose. He 
was a country boy like, with a ploughman's frock on, and 
was as spotted in the face as a tiger-lily." 

" Oh ! I know," replied Euth, with a ray of her old 
sunshiny smUe flitting oyer her face ; " it was Johnny 
Gait ; he comes into market every day with vegetables. 
Don't you remember him, Katy? He used to drive 
our old Brindle to pasture, and milk her every night. 
You know dear papa gave him a suit of clothes on the 
Fourth of July, and a new hat, and leave to go to 
Plymouth to see his mother? Don't you remember, 
Katy, he used to catch butterflies for you in the meadow, 
and pick you nosegays of buttercups, and let you ride 
the pony to water, and show you where the little min- 
nies lived in the brook 1 Have you forgotten the white 
chicken he brought you in his hat, which cried * peep- 
peep,' and the cunning little speckled eggs he found for 
you in the woods, and the bright scarlet partridge berries 
he strung for a necklace for your throat, and the glossy 
green-oak-leaf wreath he made for your hat V 

" Tell more — ^tell more," said Katy, with eyes brim- 
ming with joy ; " smile more, mamma." 

Aye, "Smile more, mamma." Earth has its bright 
spots ; there must have been sunshine to make a shadow. 
All hearts are not calloused by selfishness ; from the lips 
of the honest little donor goeth up each night and morn- 



KUTHHALL. 163 

ing a prayer, sincere and earnest, for " the widow and the 
fatherless." The noisome, flaunting weeds of earth have 
not wholly choked the modest flower of gratitude. 
" Smile more, mamma !" 

How cheap a thing is happiness ! Golconda's mines 
were dross to that simple bunch of flowers ! They lit 
the widow's gloomy room with a celestial brightness. 
Upon the dingy carpet Ruth placed the little vase, and 
dimpled limbs hovered about their brilliant petals ; pois- 
ing themselves daintily as the epicurean butterfly who 
circles, in dreamy delight, over the rose's heart, longing, 
yet delaying to sip its sweets. 

A simple bunch of flowers, yet oh, the tale they told 
with their fragrant breath ! " Smile, mamma !" for those 
gleeful children's sake ; send back to the source that 
starting tear, ere like a lowering cloud it o'ercasts the 
sunshine of those beaming faces. 



CHAPTER XLIV. 

" l\/r^ dear," said Mrs. Millet, as the servant -withdrew 
-'•'•*■ -with the dessert, " Walter has an invitation to the 
Hon. David Greene's to-night." 

No response from Mr. Millet, "the wooden man," one 
of whose pleasant peculiarities it was never to answer a 
question till the next day after it was addressed to him. 

Mrs. Millet, quite broken in to this little conjugal ec- 
centricity, proceeded ; " It will be a good thing for John, 
Mr. Millet; I am anxious that all his acquaintances 
should be ©f the right sort. Hyacinth has often told me 
how much it made or marred a boy's fortune, the set he 
associated with. Herbert Greene has the air of a thor- 
ough-bred man already. You see now, Mr. MUlet, the 
importance of Hyacinth's advice to us about five years 
ago, to move into a more fashionable neighborhood ; to 
be sure rents are rather high here, but I am very sure 
young Snyder would never have thought of offering him- 
self to Leila had not we lived at the court-end of the 
town. Hyacinth considers it a great catch in point of 



HUTH HALL. 165 

family, and I have no doubt Snyder is a nice fellow. I 
wish before you go, Mr. Millet, you would leave the 
money to buy LeUa a velvet jacket ; it will not cost more 
than forty dollars (lace, trimmings, and aU) ; it wiU be 
very becoming to Leila. What, going 1 oh, I forgot to 
tell you, that Euth's father was here this morning, bother- 
ing me just as I was dressing my hair for dinner. It 
seems that he is getting tired of furnishing the allowance 
he promised to give Euth, and says that it is our turn 
now to do something. He is a great deal better off than 
we are, and so I told him ; and also, that we were obliged 
to live in a certain style for the dear children's sake ; 
beside, are we rmt doing something for her? I allow 
Ruth to do her washing in our kitchen every week, pro- 
vided she finds her own soap. Stop a minute, Mr. Mil- 
let ; da leave the forty dollars for Leila's jacket before you 
go. Cicohi, the artist, wants her to sit for a Madonna, — 
quite a pretty tribute to Leila's beauty ; he only charges 
three hundred dollars ; his study is No. 1, dive street." 
" S-t-u-d-i-o," said Mr. Millet, (slowly and oracularly, 
who, being on several school committees, thought it his 
duty to make an extra exertion, when the king's English 
was misapplied ;) " s-t-u-d-i-o, Mrs. Millet ;" and button- 
ing the eighth button of his overcoat, he moved slowly out 
the front door, and down the street to his counting-room, 
getting over the ground with about as much flexibility 
and grace of motion as the wooden hordes on the stage. 



CHAPTER XLV. 

" pOME here, Katy," said Ruth, « do you think you 
could go ahne to your grandfather Ellet's for once ? 
My board bill is due to-day, and my head is so giddy 
with this pain, that I can hardly lift it from the pillow. 
Don't you think you can go without me, dear? Mrs. 
Skiddy is very particular about being paid the moment 
she sends in her bUl." 

"I'll try, mamma," replied little Katy, unwilling to 
disoblige her mother. 

" Then bring your bonnet, dear, and let me tie it ; be 
very, very careful crossing the streets, and don't loiter on 
the way. I have been hoping every moment to be bet- 
ter, but I cannot go." 

" Never mind, mother," said Katy, struggling bravely 
with her reluctance, as she kissed her mother's cheek, and 
smiled a good-bye ; but when she gained the crowded 
street, the smile faded away from the little feoe, her steps 



BtJTH HALI.. 167 

were slow, and her eyes downcast; for Katy, child as 
she was, knew that her grandfather was never glad to see 
them now, and his strangej^ cold tone when he spoke to 
her, always made her shiver ; so little Katy threaded her 
way along, with a troubled, anxious, ' care-worn look, 
never glancing in at the shopkeepers' tempting windows, 
and quite forgetting Johnny Gait's pretty bimch of flow- 
ers, till she stood trembling with her hand on the latch 
of her grandfather's counting-room door. 

" That you /" said her grandfather gruffly, from under 
his bent brows ; " come for money again ? Do you think 
your grandfather is made of money 1 people have to 
earn it, did you know that ? I worked hard to earn 
mine. Have you done any thing to earn this V 

" No, Sir," said Katy, with a culprit look, twisting 
the corner of her apron, and struggling to keep from 
crying. 

" Why don't your mother go to work and earn some- 
thing V asked Mr. EUet. 

" She cannot get any work to do," replied Katy ; " she 
tries very hard, grandpa." 

" Well, tell her to keep on trying, and you must grow 
up quick, and earn something too ; money don't grow on 
trees, or bushes, did you know that? What's the 
reason your mother did n't come after it herself, hey 1" 

" She is sick,'' said Katy. 

"Seems to me she's always sick. Well, there's a 



168 RtTTH HALL. 

dollar," said her grandfather, looking at the bill affection 
ately, as he parted with it ; " if you keep on coming here 
at this rate, you will get all my money away. Do you 
think it is right to come and get all my money away, 
hey 1 Eemember now, you and your mother must earn 
some, somehow, d 'ye hear 1" 

" Yes, Sir," said Katy meekly, as she dosed the door. 

There was a great noise and buslie in the street, and 
Katy was jostled hither and thither by the hurrying foot 
passengers; but she did not heed it, she was so busy 
thinking of what her grandfather had said, and wondering 
if she could not sell matches, or shavings, or sweep the 
crossings, or earn some pennies somehow, that she need 
never go to her grandfather again. Just then a little girl 
her own age, came skipping and smiling along, holding 
her fether's hand. Katy looked at her and thought of 
her father, and then she began to cry. 

" What is the matter, my dear ?" said a gentleman, 
lifting a handful of Katy's shining curls irom her face ; 
" why do you cry, my dear ?" 

" I want my papa," sobbed Katy. / 

" Where is he, dear? tell me, and I will take you to 
him, shall I r' 

" F you please. Sir," said Katy, innocently, " he has 
gone to heaven." 

" God help you," said the gentleman, with moistened 
eyes, " where had you been when I met you V 



RUTH HALIr. 169 

" Please, Sir^^I— I— I had rather not tell," replied 
Katy, with a crimson blush. 

" Very odd, this," muttered the gentleman ; " what is 
your name, dear 1" 

" Katy, Sir." 

"Katy what 1" asked the gentleman. "Katy-did, I 
think ! for your voice is as sweet as a bird's." 

"■ Katy HaU, Sir." 

" Hall ? Hall V repeated the gentleman, thoughtfiilly ; 
'• was your father's name Harry V 

" Yes," said Katy. 

" Was he tall and handsome, with black hajr and 
whiskers V 

" Oh, so handsome," replied Katy, with sparkling 
eyes. 

" Did he live at a place called ' The Glen,' just out 
of the city ?" 

" Yes," said Katy. 

" My child, my poor chUd," said the gentleman, taking 
her up in his arms and pushing back her hair from her 
face; " yes, here is papa's -brow, and his clear, blue eyes, 
Katy. I used to know your dear papa." 

" Yes 1" said Katy, with a bright, glad smile. 

" I used to go to his counting-house to talk to him on 

business, and I learned to love him very much, too. I 

never saw yolir mamma, though I often heard him speak 

of her. In a few hours, dear, I am going to sail off on 

8 



170 EUTH HALL. 

the great ocean, else I would go home with you and see 
your mamma. Where do you live, Katy ?" 

" In court," said the child. The gentleman col- 
ored and started, then putting his hand in his pocket and 
drawing out something that looked like paper, slipped it 
into little Katy's bag, saying, with delicate tact, "Tell 
your mamma, my dear, that is something I owed your 
dear papa; mind you carry it home safely; now give 
me a good-bye kiss, and may God forever bless you, my 
darling." 

Little Katy stood shading her eyes with her hand till 
the gentleman was out of sight ; it was so nice to see 
somebody who "loved papa;" and then she wondered 
why her grandfather never spoke so to her about him ; 
and then she wished the kind gentleman were her grand- 
papa ; and then she wondered what it was he had put in 
the bag for mamma ; and then she recollected that her 
mamma told her " not to loiter ;" and then she (Quickened 
her tardy little feet. 



CHAPTER XLVI. 

T/ATY had been gone now a long while. Euth tegan 
to grow anxious. She lifted her head from the pil- 
low, took off the wet bandage from her aching forehead, 
and taking little Nettie upon her lap, sat down at the 
small window to watch for Katy. The prospect was not 
one to call up cheerful fancies. Opposite was one of 
those large brick tenements, let out by rapacious land- 
lords, a room at a time at griping rents, to poor emi- 
grants, and others, who were barely able to prolong 
their lease of life from day to day. At one window sat a 
tailor, with his legs crossed, and a torn straw hat perched 
awry upon his head, cutting and making coarse garments 
for the small clothing-store in the vicinity, whose Jewish 
owner reaped all the profits. At another, a pale-faced 
woman, with a handkerchief bound round her aching face, 
bent over a steaming wash-tub, while a little girl of ten, 
staggering under the weight of a basket of damp clothes. 



172 KUTH HALL. 

was stringing them on lines across the room to dry. At 
the next window sat a decrepit old woman, feebly try- 
ing to soothe in her palsied arms the wailings of a poor 
sick child. And there, too, sat a young girl, from dawn 
till dark, scarcely lifting that paHid face and weary 
eyes — stitching and thinking, thinking and stitching. God 
help her ! 

Still, tier above tier the windows rose, fiiU of pale, 
anxious, care-worn faces — never a laugh, never a song — 
but instead, ribald curses, and the cries of neglected, half- 
fed children. From window to window, outside, were 
strung on lines articles of clothing, pails, baskets, pil- 
lows, feather-beds, and torn coverlets ; wMle up and 
down the door-steps, in and out, passed ever a ragged 
procession of bare-footed women and children, to the 
small grocery opposite, for " a pint of mUk," a " loaf of 
bread," a few onions, or potatoes, a cabbage, some her- 
rings, a sixpence worth of poor tea, a pound of musty 
flour, a few candles, or a peck of coal — ^for all of which, 
the poor creatures paid twice as much as if they had the 
means to buy by the quantity. 

The only window which Euth did not shudder to look 
at, was the upper one of all, inhabited by a large but 
thrifty German family, whose love of flowers had taken 
root even in that sterile soU, and whose little pot of 
thriving foreign shrubs, outside the window sill, showed 
with what tenacity the heart will cling to early associations. 



RUTH HALL 173 

Flirther on, at one block's remove, ■« ».* '. more preten- 
tious-looking house, the blinds of which were almost 
always closed, save when the colored servants threw them 
open once a day, to give the rooms an airing. Then 
Ruth saw damask chairs, satin curtains, pictures, vases, 
books, and pianos; it was odd that people who could 
afford such things should live in such a neighborhood. 
Euth looked and wondered. Throngs of visitors went 
there — carriages rolled up to the door, and rolled away ; 
gray-haired men, business men, substantial-looking fam- 
ily men, and foppish-looking young men; while hal£ 
grown boys loitered about the premises, looking myste- 
riously into the door when it opened, or into the window 
when a curtain was raised, or a blind flew apart. 

Now and then a woman appeared at the windows. 
Sometimes the face was young and fair, sometimes it was 
wan and haggard ; but, oh God ! never without the stain 
that the bitterest tear may fail to wash away, save in the 
eyes of Him whose voice of mercy whispered, " Go, and 
sin no more." 

Euth's tears fell fast. She knew now how it could be, 
when every door of hope seemed shut, by those who make 
long prayers and wrap themselves in morality as with a 
garment, and cry with closed purses and averted faces, 
"Be ye warmed, and filled." She knew now how, 
■when the heart, craving sympathy, craving companion- 
ship, doubting both earth and heaven, may wreck its all 



174 BUTH HALL. 

in one despairing moment on that dark sea, if it lose 
sight of Bethlehem's guiding-star. And then, she 
thought, "if he who saveth a soul from death shall hide a 
multitude of sins," oh ! where, in the great reckoning-day, 
shall he be found who, 'mid the gloom of so dark a 
night, pilots such struggling hark on wrecking rocks ? 

" Dear child, I am so glad you are home," said Buth, 
as Katy opened the door ; " I began to fear something had 
happened to you. Did you see your grandfather ?" 

" Oh, mother !" exclaimed Katy, " please never send 
me to my grandpa again ; he said we ' should get away 
all the money he had,' and he looked so dreadful when he 
said it, that it made my knees tremble. Is it stealing, 
mamma, for us to take grandpa's money away 1" 

"No," replied Ruth, looking a hue more pallid, if pos- 
sible, than before, " No, no, Katy, don't cry ; you shall 
never go there again for money. But, where is your 
bag ? Why ! what 's this, Katy. Grandpa has made a 
mistake. You must run right back as quick as ever you 
can with this money, or I 'm afraid he will be angry." 

"Oh, grandpa didn't give me that," said Katy; "a 
gentleman gave me that." 

" A gentleman 1" said Ruth. " Why it is money, Katy. 
How came you to take money from a gentleman ? Who 
was he ?" 

" Money !" exclaimed Katy. " Money !" clapping her 



RUTH HALL. 175 

hands. " Oh! I 'm so glad. He did n't say it was money ; 
he said it was something he owed papa;" and little 
Katy picked up a card from the floor, on which was 
pencilled, " For the children of Harry Hall, from their 
father's friend." 

" Hush," whispered Katy to Nettie, " mamma is 
praying." 



CHAPTEE XLVII, 



" TT7ELL, I never !" said Biddy, bursting into Euth's 
room in her usual thunder-clap -way, and seating 
herself on the edge of a chair, as she polished her face 
with the skirt of her dress. " As sure as my name is 
Biddy, I don't know whether to laugh or to cry. Well, 
I 've been expecting it. Folks that have ears can't help 
hearing when folks quarrel." 

" What are you talking about 1" said Euth. " Who 
has quarreled ? It is nothing that concerns me." 

" Don't it though 1" replied Biddy. " I 'm thinking it 
will concern je to pack up bag and baggage, and be off 
out of the house ; for that 's what we are all coming to, 
and all for Mrs. Skiddy. You see it 's just here, ma'am. 
Masther has been threatnin' for a long time to go to 
Californy, where the gould is as plenty as blackberries. 
Well, misthress tould him, if ever he said the like o' that 
again, he 'd rue it ; and you know, ma'am, it 's she that 



RUTH HALL. 177 

has a temper. Well, yesterday I heard high -worda 
again ; and, sure enough, after dinner to-day, she went off, 
taking Sammy and Johnny, and laving the bit nursing 
bahy on his hands, and the boarders and all. And it 's 
Biddy McFlanigan who '11 be off, ma'am, and not be 
made a pack-horse of, to tend that teething child, and be 
here, and there, and everywhere in a minute. And so 
I come to bid you good-bye." 

" But, Biddy—" 

" Don't be afther keeping me, ma'am ; Pat has should 
hered me trunk, and ye see I can't be staying when 
things is as they is." 

The incessant cries of Mrs. Skiddy's bereaved baby 
soon bore ample testimony to the truth of Biddy's narra- 
tion, appealing to Euth's motherly sympathies so ve- 
hemently, that she left her room and went down to offer 
her assistance. 

There sat Mr. John Skiddy, the forlorn widower, the 
ambitious Califomian, in the middle of the kitchen, in his 
absconded wife's rocking-chair, trotting a seven months' 
baby on the sharp apex of his knee, alternately singing, 
whistling, and wiping the perspiration from his forehead, 
while the little Skiddy threw up its arms in the most 
frantic way, and held its breath with rage, at the awk- 
ward attempts of its dry nurse to restore peace to the 
family. 

8* 



ITO KUTH HALL. 

" Let me sweeten a little cream and water and feed 
that child for you, Mr. Skiddy," said Ruth. " I think he 
Is hungry." 

"Oh, thank you, Mrs. Hall," said Skiddy, with a 
man's determined aversion to owning ' checkmated.' " I 
am getting along famously with the little darling. " Papa 
will feed him, so he will," said Skiddy ; and, turning the 
maddened hahy flat on his back, he poured down a whole 
tea-spoonful of the liquid at once ; the natural conse- 
quence of which was a milky ^'e^ d^eau on his face, neck- 
cloth, and vest, from the irritated hahy, who resented the 
insult with aU his mother's spirit. 

Euth adroitly looked out the window, while Mr. Skid- 
dy wiped his face and sopped his neckcloth, after which 
she busied herself in picking up the ladles, spoons, forks, 
dredging-boxes, mortars, pestles, and other culinary im- 
plements, with which the floor was strewn, in the vain at- 
tempt to propitiate the distracted infant. 

" I think I will spare the little dear to you a few min- 
utes," said Skiddy, with a ghastly attempt at a smUe, 
" while I run over to the bakery to get a loaf for tea. 
Mrs. Skiddy has probably been unexpectedly detamed, 
and Biddy is so afraid of her labor in her absence, that 
she has taken French leave. I shall be back soon," said 
Skiddy, turning away in disgust from the looking-glass, 
as he caught sight of his limpsey dicky and collapsed 
shirt-bosom. 



RUTH HALL. J79 

Kuth took the poor worried baby tenderly, laid it on 
its stomach across her lap, then loosening its frock 
strings, began rubbing its little fat shoulders with her 
velvet palm. There was a maternal magnetism in that 
touch ; baby knew it ! he stopped crying and winked his 
swollen eyelids with the most luxurious satisfaction, as 
much as to say, there, now, that 's something like ! 

Gently Euth drew first one, then the other, of the 
magnetized baby's chubby arms from its frock sleeves, 
substituting a comfortable loose night-dress for the 
tight and heated frock ; then she carefully drew off its 
shoe, admiring the while the beauty of the little blue 
veined, dimpled foot, while Katy, hush as any mouse, 
looked on delightedly from her little cricket on the 
hearth, and Nettie, less philosophical, was more than half 
inclined to cry at what she considered an infringement of 
her rights. 

Mr. Skiddy's reflections as he walked to the bakery 
were of a motley character. Upon the whole, he inclined 
to the opinion that it was " not good for man to be 
alone," especially with a nursing baby. The premedi- 
tated and unmixed malice of Mrs. Skiddy in leaving the 
baby, instead of Sammy or Johnny, was beyond question. 
StUl, he could not believe that her desire for revenge 
would outweigh all her maternal feelings. She would re- 
turn by-and-bye ; but where could she have gone 1 Peo- 
ple cannot travel with an empty purse ; but, perhaps 



180 EUTH HALL. 

even now, at some tantalizing point of contiguity, she 
was laughing at the success of her nefarious scheme ; and 
Mr. Skiddy's face reddened at the thought, and his arms 
instinctively took an a-kimbo attitude. 

But then, perhaps, she never meant to come hack. 
What was he to do with that baby? A wet-nurse 
would cost him six dollars a week ; and, as to bring- 
ing up little Tommy by hand, city milk would soon 
finish him. And, to do Mr. Skiddy justice, though no 
Socrates, he was a good father to his children. 

And now it was nearly dark. Was he doomed to 
sit up all night, tired as he was, with Tommy in one 
hand, and a spoon and pewter porringer in the other ? 
Or, worse still, walk the floor in white array, till his 
joints, candle, and patience gave out ? Then, there were 
the boarders to be seen to ! He never realized before 
how many irons Mrs. Skiddy had daUy in the fire. 
There was Mr. Thompson, and Mr. Johnson, on the 
first floor, (and his face grew hot as he thought of it,) had 
seen him ia the kitchen looking so Miss-Nancy-like, as he 
superintended pots, kettles, and stews. Stews? there 
was not a dry thread on him that minute, although a cold 
north wind was blowing. Never mind, he was not such 
a fool as to tell of his little troubles ; so he entered the 
bakery and bought an extra pie, and a loaf of plum-c^e, 
for tea, to hoodwin^ the boarders into the belief that Mrs. 



BUTH HALL. 181 

Skiddy's presence was not at all necessary to a well-pro- 
vided table. 

Tea went off quite swimmingly, with Mr. John Skiddy 
at the urn. The baby, thanks to Euth's maternal man- 
agement, lay sweetly sleeping in his little wicker cradle, 
dreaming of a distant land flowing with milk and honey, 
and looking as if he was destined to a protracted nap ; 
although it was very perceptible that Mr. Skiddy looked 
anxious when a door was shut hard, or a knife or fork 
dropped on the table; and he had several times been 
seen to close his teeth tightly over his lip, when a heavy 
cart rumbled mercilessly past. 

Tea being over, the boarders dispersed their various 
ways ; Kuth notifying Mr. Skiddy of her willingness to 
take the child whenever it became unmanageable. Then 
Mr. Skiddy, very gingerly, and with a cat-like tread, put 
away the tea-things, muttering an imprecation at the M 
of the tea-pot, as he went, for falling ofE Then, drawing the 
evening paper from his pocket, and unfurling it, (with 
one eye on the cradle,) he put up his weary legs and com- 
menced reading the news. 

Hark ! a muffled noise from the cradle ! Mr. Skiddy 
started, and applied his toe vigorously to the rocker — it 
was no use. He whistled— it did n't suit. He sang — ^it 
was a decided failure. Little Skiddy had caught sight of 
the pretty bright candle, and it was his present intention 
to scream till he was taken up to investigate it. 



182 RUTH HALL. 

Miserable Skiddy ! He recollected, now, alas ! too 
late, that Mrs. Skiddy always carefully screened the light 
from Tommy's eyes while sleeping. He began to be 
conscious of a growing respect for Mrs. Skictdy, and a 
growing aversion to her baby. Yes ; in that moment of 
vexation, with that unread evening paper before him, he 
actually called it her baby. 

How the victimized man worried through . the long 
evening and night — how he tried to propitiate the little 
tempest with the castor, the salt-cellar, its mother's work- 
box, and last, but not least, a silver cup he had received 
for his valor from the Atlantic Fire Company — ^how the 
baby, all-of-a-twist, like Dickens' young hero kept asking 
for " more " — how he laid it on its back, and laid it on 
its side, and laid it on its stomach, and propped it up on 
one end in a house made of pillows, and placed the can- 
dle at the foot of the bed, in the vain hope that that 
luminary might be graciously deemed by the infant 
tyrant a substitute for his individual exertions — and how, 
regardless of all these philanthropic efforts, little Skiddy 
stretched out his arms imploringly, and rooted suggest- 
ively at his father's breast, in a way to move a heart of 
stone — and how Mr. Skiddy said several words not to be 
found in the catechism — and how the daylight found him 
as pale as a potato sprout in a cellar, with all sorts of 
diagonal lines tattoed over his face by enraged little finger 



KUTH HALL. 183 

nails — and how the little horn, that for years had curled 
up so graoefiilly toward his nose, was missing from the 
corner of his moustache — are they not all written in the 
ambitious Californian's repentant memory ? 



CHAPTER XLVIII. 



"TTOW sweetly they sleep," said Ruth, shading the 
small lamp with her hand, and gazing at Katy and 
Nettie ; " God grant their names be not written, widow ;" 
and smoothing back the damp tresses from the brow of 
each little sleeper, she sat down to the table, and drawing 
from it a piece of fine work, commenced sewing. " Only 
fifty-cents for all this rufiling and hemming," said Ruth, 
as she picked up the wick of her dim lamp ; " only fifty 
cents ! and I have labored diligently too, every spare 
moment, for a fortnight ; this wUl never do," and she 
glanced at the little bed ; " they must be clothed, and 
fed, and educated. Educated 1" an idea struck Ruth ; 
" why could not she teach school 1 But who would be 
responsible for the rent of her room ? There was fuel to 
be furnished, and benches ; what capital had she to start 
with ? There was Mrs. Millet, to be sure, and her father, 
who, though they were always saying, " get something to 



RUTHHALL. 185 

do," would never assist her •when she tried to do any- 
thing ; how easy for them to help her to obtain a few 
scholars, or be responsible for her rent, till she could 
make a little headway. Ruth resolved, at least, to men- 
tion her project to Mrs. Millet, who could then, if she 
felt inclined, have an opportunity to offer her assistance 
in this way. 

The following Monday, when her washing was finished, 
Ruth wiped the suds from her parboiled fingers on the 
kitchen roller, and ascending the stairs, knocked at the 
door of her cousin's chamber. Mrs. Millet was just 
putting the finishing touches to the sleeves of a rich silk 
dress of Leila's, which the mantau-maker had just re- 
turned. 

" How d' ye do, Ruth," said she, in a tone which im- 
plied — what on earth do you want now 1 

" Very well, I thank you," said Ruth, with that sud- 
den sinking at the heart, which even the intonation of a 
voice may sometimes give ; " I can only stay a few min- 
utes ; I stopped to ask you, if you thought there was any 
probability of success, should I attempt to get a private 
school 1" 

"There is nothing to prevent your trying," replied 
Mrs. Millet, carelessly ; " other widows have supported 
themselves ; there was Mrs. Snow.'' Ruth sighed, for 
she knew that Mrs. Snow's relatives had given her letters 
of introduction to influential families, and helped her in 



186 



BUTH HALL. 



various ways till she could get her head above water. 
" Yes," continued Mrs. Millet, laying her daughter's sEk 
dress on the bed, and stepping back a pace or two, with 
her head on one side, to mark the effect of the satin bow 
she had been arranging; "yes — other widows support 
themselves, though, I am sure, I don't know how they do 
it — ^I suppose there must be a way — ^LeUa ! is that bow 
right ? seems to me the dress needs a yard or two more 
lace ; ten dollars will not make much difference ; it will 
be such an improvement." 

" Of course not," said Leila, " it will be a very great 
improvement ; and by the way, Euth, don't you want to 
sell me that coral pin you used to wear ? it would look 
very pretty with this green dress." 

" It was Harry's gift," said Ruth. 

" Yes," replied Leila ; " but I thought you 'd be very 
glad to part with it for money." 

A flush passed over Ruth's face. " Not glad, LeUa," 
she replied, " for everything that once belonged to Harry 
is precious, though I might feel necessitated to part with 
it, in my present circumstances." 

" Well, then," said Mrs. Millet, touching her daugh- 
ter's elbow, " you 'd better have it, Leila." 

" Harry gave ten dollars for it," said Ruth. 

"Yes, originally, I dare say," replied Mrs. Millet, 
" but nobody expects to get much for second-hand things. 
Leila wiU give you a dollar and a quarter for it, and she 



EUTH HALL. 187 

would like it soon, because when this north-east storm 
blows over, she wants to make a few calls on Snyder's 
relatives, in this very becoming silk dress ;" and Mrs. 
Millet patted Leila on tihe shoulder. 

« Good-bye," said Euth. 

" Don't forget the brooch," said LeUa. 

" I wish Euth would go oif into the country, or some- 
where," remarked Leila, as Euth closed the door. "I 
have been expecting every day that Snyder would hear 
of her offering to make caps in that work-shop ; he is 
so fastidious about such things, being connected with the 
Tidmarshes, and that set, you know." 

" Yes," said Leila's elder brother John, a half-fledged 
young M.D., whose collegiate and medical education 
enabled him one morning to astound the family 
breakfast-party with the astute information, " that vine- 
gar was an acid." " Yes, I wish she would take herself 
off into the country, too. I had as lief see a new doc- 
tor's sign put up next door, as to see her face of a Mon- 
day, over that wash-tub, in our kitchen. I wonder if she 
thinks salt an improvement in soap-suds, for the last 
time I saw her there she was dropping in the tears on her 
clothes, as she scrubbed, at a showering rate ; another 
thing, mother, I wish you would give her a lesson or two, 
about those children of hers. The other day I met her 
Katy in the street with the shabbiest old bonnet on, and 
the toes of her shoes all rubbed white ; and she had the 



188 RUTH HALL. 

impertmence to call me " cousin John," in the hearing of 
young Gerald, ■who has just returned from abroad, and 
who dined with Lord Maiden, in Paris. I could have 
wrung the little wretch's neck." 

" It was provoking, John. I 'U speak to her about it," 
said Mrs, Millet, " when she brings the coral pin." 



CHAPTER XLIX. 



■pUTH, after a sleepless night of reflection upon her 
-*-'^ new project, started in the morning in quest of pu- 
pils. She had no permission to refer either to her father, 
or to Mrs. Millet ; and such being the case, the very fact 
of her requesting this favor of any one less nearly re- 
lated, would he, of itself, sufficient to cast suspicion upon 
her. Some of the ladies upon whom she called were 
" out," some " engaged," some " indisposed," and all in- 
different; besides, people are not apt to entrust their 
chUdren with a person of whom they know nothing ; 
Euth keenly felt this disadvantage. 

One lady on whom she called, "never sent 'her chil- 
dren where the teacher's own children were taught;" 
another preferred foreign teachers, " it was something to 
say that Alfred and Alfrida were ' finished' at Signer 
Viechi's establishment ;" another, after putting Ruth 
through the Catechism as to her private history, and 



190 RUTH HALL. 

torturing her mth the most minute inquiries as to her 
past, present, and future, coolly informed her that " she 
had no children to send." 

After hours of finiitless searching, Kuth, foot-sore and 
heart-sore, returned to her lodgings. That day at dinner, 
some one of the boarders spoke of a young girl, who had 
been taken to the Hospital in a consumption, contracted 
by teaching a Primary School in street. 

The situation was vacant ; perhaps she could get it ; 
certainly her education ought to qualify her to satisfy any 
" School Committee." Ruth inquired who they were ; one 
was her cousin, Mr. Millet, the wooden man ; one was 
Mr. Develin, the literary bookseller ; the two others 
were strangers. Mr. Millet and Mr. Develin ! and both 
aware how earnestly she longed for employment ! Buth 
looked at her children ; yes, for their sake she would 
even go to the wooden man, and Mr. Develin, and ask if 
it were not possible for her to obtam the vacant Primary 
School 



CHAPTER L. 

11 /TR. MILLET sat in his counting room, with his pen 
-^'-^ behind his ear, examining his ledger. " Do ?" said 
he concisely, by way of salutation, as Euth entered. 

" I understand there is a vacancy in the 5th Ward Pri- 
mary School," said Euth ; " can you tell me, as you are 
one of the Committee for that district, if there is any 
prospect of my obtaining it, and how I shall manage to 
do so." 

" A-p-p-1-y," said Mr. Millet. 

"When is the examination of applicants to take 
place ■?" asked Euth. 

" T-u-e-s-d-ary," replied the statue. 

'' At what place V asked Euth. 

" C-i-t-y-H-a-1-1," responded the wooden man, makmg 
an entry in his ledger. 

Euth's heroic resolutions to ask him to use his in- 
fluence in her behalf, vanished into thin air, at this icy re- 



193 RUTH HALL. 

serve ; and, passing out into the street, she bent her slow 
steps in the direction of Mr. Develin's. On entering the 
door, she espied that gentleman through the glass door 
of his counting-room, sitting in his leathern arm-chair, 
with his hands folded, in an attitude of repose and medi- 
tation. 

" Can I speak to you a moment t" said Euth, lifting 
the latch of the door. 

"Well — ^yes — certainly, Mrs. Hall," replied Mr, Deve- 
lin, seizing a package of letters ; " it is an uncommon 
busy time with me, but yes, certainly, if you have any- 
thing particular to say." 

Euth mentioned in as few words as possible, the Pri- 
mary School, and her hopes of obtaining it, Mr. Deve- 
lin, meanwhile, opening the letters and perusing their 
contents. When she had finished, he said, taking his hat 
to go out : 

" I don't know but you 'U stand as good a chance, Mrs. 
Hall, as anybody else ; you can apply. But you must 
excuse me, for I have an invoice of books to look over, 
immediately." 

Poor Euth ! And this was human nature, which, for 
80 many sunny years of prosperity, had turned to her 
only its bright side ! ' She was not to be discouraged, 
however, and sent in her application. 



CHAPTER LI. 

1?XAMINATI0N day' came, and Ruth bent her deter- 
■^ mined steps to the City Hall. The apartment desig- 
nated was already crowded with waiting applicants, who 
regarded, with jealous eye, each addition to their num- 
ber as so much dimunition of their own individual 
chance for success. 

Ruth's cheeks grew hot, as their scrutinizing and un- 
friendly glances were bent on her, and that feeling of ut- 
ter desolation came over her, which was always so over- 
whelming whenever she presented herself- as a suppliant 
for public favor. In truth, it was but a poor preparation 
for the inquisitorial torture before her. 

The applicants were called out, one by one, in alpha- 
betical order ; Ruth inwardly blessing the early nativity 
of the letter H, for these anticipatory-shower-bath medi- 
tations were worse to her than the shock of a volley of 
chilling interrogations. 

" Letter H." 

9 



194 RUTH HALL. 

Euth rose with a flutter at her heart, and entered a 
huge, barren-looking room, at the further end of which 
sat, in august state, the dread committee. Very respectar 
ble were the gentlemen of whom that committee was 
composed ; respectable was written all over them, from 
the crowns of their scholastic heads to the very tips of 
their polished boots ; and correct and methodical as a 
revised dictionary they sat, with folded hands and specta- 
cle-bestridden noses. 

Euth seated herself in the victim's chair, before this 
august body, &cing a flood of light from a large bay.'Wih- 
dow, that nearly extinguished her eyes. 

" What is your age 1" asked the elder of the inc^uia- 
tors. 

Scratch went tha extorted secret on the nib of the 
reporter's pen ! 

" Where was you educated 1" 

" Was Colburn, or Emorson, your teacher's standard 
for Arithmetic?" 

" Did you cipher on a slate, or black-board?" 

" Did you learn the multiplication table, skipping, or 
in order ?" 

" Was you taught Astronomy, or Philosophy, first ?" 

" Are you accustomed to a quill, or a st^el-pen ? lines, 
or blank-paper, in writing ?" 

" Did you use Smith's, or Jones' Wri ting-Book ?" 

" Did you learn Geography by Maps, or Globes '" 



BOTH HALL 195 

"Globes?" asked Mr. Squizzle, repeating Euth's an- 
swer ; " possible V 

" Tliey use Globes at the celebrated Jerrold Institute," 
remarked Mr. Fizzle. 

"Impossible!" retorted Mr. Squizzle, growing plethoric 
in the fece ; " Globes, sir, are exploded ; no institution 
of any note uses Globes, sir. I know it." 

" And I know you labor under a mistake," said Fizzle, 
elevating his chin, and folding his arms pugnaciously 
over his striped vest. " I am acquainted with one of the 
teachers in that highly-respectable school." 

" And I, sir," said Squizzle, " am well acquainted with 
the Principal, who is a man of too much science, sir, to 
use globes, sir, to teach geography, sir." 

At this, Mr. Fizzle settled down behind his dicky with 
a quenched air ; and the very important question being 
laid on the shelf, Mr. Squizzle, handing Ruth a copy of 
" Pollock's Course of Time," requested her to read a 
marked passage, indicated by a perforation of his pen- 
knife. Poor Euth stood about as fair a chance of prov- 
ing her ability to read poetry, as would Fanny Kemble 
to take up a play, nap-hazard, at one of her dramatic 
readings, without a previous opportunity to gather up the 
author's connecting thread. Our heroine, however, went 
through the motions. This farce concluded, Ruth was dis- 
missed into the apartment in waiting, to make room for 
the other applicants, each of whom returned with red 



196 RUTH HALL. 

faces, moist foreheads, and a " Carry-me-baok-to-Old-Vir- 
ginia " air. 

An hour's added suspense, and the four owners of 
the four pair of inquisitorial spectacles marched, in 
procession, into the room in -waiting, and wheeling " face 
about," with military precision, thumped on the table, 
and ejaculated : 

" Attention !" 

Instantaneously, five-and-twenty pair of eyes, black, 
blue, brown, and gray, were riveted ; and each owner 
being supplied with pen, ink, and paper, was allowed ten 
minutes (with the four -pair of spectacles levelled full at 
her) to express her thoughts on the following subject : 
"Was Christopher Columbus standing up, or sitting 
down, when he discovered America V 

The four watches of the committee men being drawn 
out, pencils began to scratch ; and the terrciinus of the al- 
lotted minutes, in the middle of a sentence, was the place 
for each inspired improvisatrice to stop. 

These hasty effusions being endorsed by appending 
each writer's signature, new paper was furnished, and 
" A-t-t-e-n-t-i-o-n !" was again ejaculated by a short, pursy 
individual, who seemed to be struggling to get out of his 
coat by climbing over his shirt collar. Little armies of 
figures were then rattled off from the end of this gentle- 
man's tongue, with " Peter Piper Pipkin " velocity, which 
the anxious pen-women in waiting were expected to arrest 



BUTH HALL. 197 

in flying, and have the " sum total of the hull," as one 
of the erudite committee observed, abeady added up, when 
the illustrious arithmetician stopped to take wind. 

This heing the finale, the ladies were sapiently in- 
formed that, as only one school mistress was needed, 
only one out of the large number of applicants could be 
elected, and that "the Committee would now sit on them." 

At this gratifying intelligence, the ladies, favored by a 
plentiful shower of rain, betook themselves to their re- 
spective homes ; four-and-twenty, God help them ! to 
dream of a reprieve firom starvation, which, notwith- 
standing the six-hours' purgatory they had passed through, 
was destined to elude their eager grasp. 

The votes were cast. Euth was not elected. She had 
been educated, (whether fortunately or unfortunately, let 
the sequel of my story decide,) at a school where " Web- 
ster" was used instead of " Worcester." The greatest 
gun on the Committee was a Worcesterite. Mr. Millet 
and Mr. Develin always followed in the wake of great 
guns. Mr. Millet ard Mr. Develin voted against Euth. 



CHAPTEE LII. 

TT was four o'cloek in the afteimoon, and very tranquil 
■^ and quiet at the Skiddy's. A tidy, rosy-cheeked 
young woman sat rocking the deserted little Tommy to 
sleep, to the tune of " I 've been roaming." The hearth 
was neatly swept, the tin and pewter vessels hung, 
brightly polished, from their respective shelves. The 
Maltese cat lay winking in the middle of the floor, watch- 
ing the play of a stray sunbeam, which had found its 
way over the shed and into the small window. Ruth 
and her children were quiet, as usual, in their gloomy 
back chamber. Mr. Skiddy, a few blocks ofi", sat perched 
on a high stool, in the counting-room of Messrs. Fogg 
dsCo. 

Noiselessly the front-door opened, and the veritable 
Mrs. Skiddy, followed by Johnny and Sammy, crept 
through the front entry and entered, unannounced, into 
the kitchen. The rosy-cheeked young woman looked at 



KUTH HALL. 199 

Mrs, Skiddy, Mrs. Skiddy looked at her, and Tommy 
looked at both of them. Mrs. Skiddy then boxed the 
rosy-cheeked young woman's ears, and snatching the be- 
•wildered baby from her grasp, ejected her, with lightning 
velocity, through the street-door, and turned the key. It 
was all the work of an instant. Sammy and Johnny 
were used to domestic whirlwinds, so they were not sur- 
prised into any little remarks or exclamations, but the 
cat, less philosophical, laid bock her ears, and made 
for the ash-hole ; while Mrs. Skiddy, seating herself in 
the rocking-chair, unhooked her traveling dress and re- 
instated the delighted Tommy into all his little infantile 
privileges. 

Mr. Skiddy had now been a whole week a widower ; 
time enough for a man in that condition to grow philo- 
sophical. In fact, Skiddy was content. He had tasted 
the sweets of liberty, and he liked them. The baby, poor 
little soul, tired of remonstrance, had given out from 
sheer weariness, and took resignedly as a little christain 
to his pewter porringer. Yes, Skiddy liked it ; he jould 
be an hour behind his time without dodging, on his re- 
turn, a rattling storm of abuse and crockery ; he could 
spend an evening out, without drawing a map of his 
travels before starting. On the afternoon in question he 
felt particularly felicitous • first, because he had dined off 
fried liver and potatoes, a dish which he particularly af 
fected, and which, on that very account, he could seldom 



wo RUTH HALL. 

get in his own domicil ; secondly, he was engaged to go 
that very evening with his old love, Nancy SprigguQs, to 
see the "Panorama of Niagara;" and he had left orders 
with Betty to have tea half an hour earlier in conse- 
quence, and to be sure and iron and air his killing plaid 
vest by seven o'clock. 

As the afternoon waned, Skiddy grew restless; he 
made wrong entries in the ledger ; dipped bis pen into 
the sand-box instead of the inkstand, and several times 
said " Yes, dear," to his employer, Mr. Fogg, of Fo^ 
Square. 

Six o'clock came at last, and the emancipated Skiddy, 
turning his back on business, Nyalked towards home, in 
peace with himself, and in love with Nancy Spriggins. 
On the way he stopped to purchase a bouquet of roses 
and geraniums with which to regale that damsel's olfac- 
tories during the evening's entertainment. 

Striding through the front entry, like a man who felt 
himself to be master of his own house, Skiddy hastened 
to the kitchen to expedite tea. If he was not prepared 
for Mrs. Skiddy's departure, stUl less was he prepared 
for her return, especially with that tell-tale bouquet in 
his hand. But, like all other hen-pecked husbands, on the 
back of the scape-goat Cunning, he fled away from the 
uplifted lash. 

" My dear Matilda," exclaimed Skiddy, " my own 
wife, how could you be so cruel ? Every day since your 



RUTH HALL. 201 

departure, hoping to find you -here on my return from 
the store, I have purchased a bouquet like this to present 
you. My dear wife, let by-gones be by-gones; my 
love for you is iriipefishable." 

" V-e-r-y good, Mr. Skiddy," said his wife, accepting 
Nancy Spriggins's bouquet, with a queenly nod ; " and now 
let us have no more talk of CaKfirnia', if you please, Mr. 
Skiddy." 

" Certainly not, my darling ; I was a brute, a beast, a 
wretch, a Hottentot, a cannibal, a vampire — ^to distress 
you so. Dear little Tommy ! how pleasant it seems to 
see him in your arms again." 

" Yes," replied Mrs. Skiddy, " I was not five minutes 
in sending that red-faced German girl spinning through 
the front-door ; I hope you have something decent for us 
to eat, Skiddy. Johnny and Sammy are pretty sharp- 
set ; why don't you come and speak to your father, 
boys !" 

The young gentlemen thus summoned, slowly came 
forward, looking altogether undecided whether it was 
best to notice their father or not. A ginger-cake, how- 
ever, and a slice of buttered bread, plentifully powdered 
with sugar, wonderfully assisted them in coming to a de- 
cision. As to Nancy Spriggins, poor soul, she pulled off 
her gloves, and pulled them on, that evening, and looked 
at her watch, and looked up street and down street, and 
declared, as " the clock told the nour for retiring," that 
9* 



202 EUTH HAIiL. 

man was a , a , in short, that woman was bom 

to trouble, as the sparks are — ^to fly away. 

Mrs. Skiddy resumed her household duties with as 
much coolness as if there had been no interregnum, and 
received the boarders at tea that night, just as if she had 
parted with them that day at dinner. Skiddy was ap- 
parently as devoted as ever ; the uninitiated boarders 
opened their eyes in bewildered wonder; and triumph 
sat inscribed on the arch of Mrs. Skiddy's imposing Eo- 
man nose. 

The domestic horizon stiU continued cloudless at the 
next morning's breakfast. After the boarders had left 
the table, the market prices of beef, veal, pork, cutlets, 
chops, and steaks, were discussed as usual, the biU of 
fare for the day was drawn up by Mrs. Skiddy, and her 
obedient spouse departed to execute her market orders. 



CHAPTER LIII. 



" TXTELL, I hope you have been comfortable m my ab- 
sence, Mrs. Hall," said Mrs. Skiddy, after de- 
spatching her husband to market, as she seated herself in 
the chair nearest the door ; " ha I ha ! John and I may 
call it quits now. He is a very good fellow — John ; ex- 
cept these little tantrums he gets into once in a while ; 
the only way is, to put a stop to it at once, and let him. 
see who is master. John never will set a river on fire ; 
there 's no sort of use in his trying to take the reins — the 
man was n't born for it. I 'm too sharp for him, that 's a 
fact. Ha ! ha ! poor Johnny ! I must tell you what a 
trick I played him about two years after our marriage. 
" You must know he had to go away on business for 
Fogg & Co., to collect bUls, or something of that sort. 
Well, he made a great iass about it, as husbands who 
like to go away from home always do ; and said he 
should 'pine for the sight of me, and never know a 



204 RUTH HALL. 

happy hour till he saw me again,' and all that ; tcai 
finally declared he would not go, without I would let him 
take my Daguerreotype. Of course, I knew that was aU 
humbug ; but I consented. The likeness was pronounced 
' good,' and placed by me in his travelling trunk, when I 
packed his clothes. Well, he was gone a month, and 
when he came back, he told me (great fool) what a com- 
fort my Daguerreotype was to him, and how he had 
looked at it twenty times a day, and kissed it as many 
more ; whereupon I went to his trunk, and opening it, 
took out the case and showed it to him — without the plate, 
which I had taken care to slip out of the frame just 
before he started, and which he had never found out ! 
That 's a, specimen of John Skiddy ! — ^and John Skiddj 
is a fair specimen of the rest of his sex, let me tell you, 
Mrs. Hall. WeU, of course he looked sheepish enough ; 
and now, whenever I want to take the nonsense out of 
him, all I have to do is to point to that Daguerreotype 
case, which I keep lying on the mantel on purpose. 
When a woman is married, Mrs. Hall, she must make 
up her mind either to manage, or to be m.anaged ; / pre- 
fer to manage," said the amiable Mrs. Skiddy ; " and I 
flatter myself John understands it by this time. But, 
dear me, I can't stand here prating to you all day. I 
must look round and see what mischief has been done in 
my absence, by that lazy-looking red-feoed German girl," 
and Mrs. Skiddy laughed heartily, as she related how she 



RtJTH HALL. 205 

had sent her spinning through the front f'<^or the night- 
hefore. 

Half the forenoon was occupied by Mrs. Skiddy in 
counting "up spoons, forks, towels, and baby's pinafores, 
to see if they had sustained loss or damage during her ab- 
sence. 

" Very odd dinner don't come," said she, consulting the 
kitchen clock ; " it is high time that beef was on, roast- 
ing." 

It was odd — and odder still that Skiddy had not ap- 
peared to tell her why the dinner did n't come. Mrs. 
Skiddy wasted no time in words about it. No ; she seized 
her bonnet, and went immediately to Fogg & Co!, to 
get some tidings of him; they were apparently quite as 
much at a loss as herself to account for Skiddy's non- 
appearance. She was just departing, when one of the sub- 
clerks, whom the unfortunate Skiddy had once snubbed, 
whispered a word in her ear, the effect of which was in- 
stantaneous. Did she let the grass grow under her feet 
till she tracked Skiddy to " the wharf," and boarded the 
" Sea:Gull," bound for California, and brought the crest- 
fallen man triumphantly back to his domicil, amid con- 
vulsions of laughter from the amused captain and his 
crew ? No. 

"There, now," said liis, amiable spouse, untying her 
bonnet, " there 's another flash in the pan, Skiddy. Any- 
body who thinks to circumvent Matilda Maria Skiddy, 



306 RUTH HALL. 

must get up early in the morning, and find themselves 
too late at that. Now hold this child," dumping the 
doomed baby into his lap, "while I comb my hair. 
Goodness knows you were n't worth bringing back ; but 
when I set out to have my own way, Mr. Skiddy, Mount 
Vesuvius shan't stop me." 

Skiddy tended the baby without a remonstrance ; he 
perfectly understood, that for a probationary time he 
should be put " on the limits," the street-door being the 
boundary line. He heaved no sigh when his coat and 
hat, with the rest of his wearing apparel, were locked up, 
and the key buried in the depths of his wife's pocket. 
He played with Tommy, and made card-houses for 
Sammy and Johnny, wound several taaigled skeins of silk 
for " Maria Matilda," mended a broken button on the 
closet door, replaced a missing knob on one of the 
bureau drawers, and appeared to be in as resigned and 
proper a frame of mind as such a perfidious wretch could 
be expected to be in. 

Two or three weeks passed in this state of incarcera- 
tion, dutiug which the errand-boy of Fogg & Ck). had 
been repeatedly informed by Mrs. Skiddy, that the doc- 
tor hoped Mr. Skiddy would soon be sufficiently conva- 
lescent to attend to business. As to Skiddy, he continued 
at intervals to shed crocodile tears over his past short- 
comings, or rather his alioit-ffoingg ! In consequence of 
this apparently submissive frame of mind, he, one fiue 



RUTH HALL. 207 

moming, received total absolution from Mrs, Skiddy, and 
leave to go to the store ; which Skiddy peremptorily de- 
dined, desiring, as he said, to test the sincerity of his re- 
pentance by a still longer period of probation. 

" Don't be a fool, Skiddy," said Maria Matilda, point- 
ing to the Daguerreotype case, and then crowding his 
beaver down over his eyes ; " don't be a fool. Make a 
B line for the store, now, and tell Fogg you 've had an 
attack oi room-a-Usm ;" and Maria Matilda laughed at her 
wretched pun. 

Skiddy obeyed. No Uriah Heep could have out-done 
him in " 'umbleness," as he crept up the long street, until 
a friendly comer hid him from the lynx eyes of Maria 
Matilda. Then " Eichard was himself again " ! Draw- 
ing a long breath, our flying Mercury whizzed past the 
mile-stones, and, before sun-down of the same day, was 
under full sail for California. 

Just one half hour our Napoleon in petticoats spent in 
reflection, after being satisfied that Skiddy was really "on 
the deep blue sea." In one day she had cleared her 
house of boarders, and reserving one room for herself 
and children, filled all the other apartments with lodg- 
ers ; who paid her good prices, and taking their meals 
down town, made her no trouble beyond the care of their 
respective rooms. 

About a year after a letter came from Skiddy. He 



208 BUTH HALL. 

was " disgusted " with ill-luck at gold-digging, and ill-luCk' 
everywhere else ; he had been " burnt out," and 
"robbed," and everything else but murdered; and 
" 'umbly " requested his dear Maria Matilda to send him 
the " passage-money to return home.'' 

Mrs. Skiddy's picture should have been taken at that 
moment ! My pen fails ! Drawing from her pocket a 
purse well filled with her own honest earnings, she 
chinked its contents at some phantom shape discernible to 
her eyes alone ; while through her set teeth hissed out, 
like ten thousand serpents, the word 

«N— e— V— e— r!" 



CHAPTER Liy. 

« TTTHAT is it on the gate ? Spell it, mother," said 
Katy, looking wistfully through the iron fence at 
the terraced hanks, smoothly-rolled gravel walks, plats of 
flowers, and grape-trellised arbors; "what is it on the 
gate, mother?" 

" ' Insane Hospital,' dear ; a place for crazy people." 

" Want to walk round, ma'am f asked the gate-keeper, 
as Katy poked her little head in ; " can, if you like.'' 
Little Katy's eyes pleaded eloquently; flowers were to 
her another name for happiness, and Ruth passed in. 

" I should like to live here, mamma," said Katy. 

Ruth shuddered, and pointed to a pale face pressed 
close against the grated window. Fair rose the building 
in its architectural proportions ; the well-kept lawn was 
beautiful to the eye ; but, alas ! there was helpless age, 
whose only disease was too long a lease of life for greedy 
heirs. There, too, was the fragile wife, to whom bve was 



310 RUTH HALL. 

breath — ^being! — forgotten by the world and him in 
whose service her bloom had withered, insane — only in 
that her love had outlived his patience. 

" Poor creatures !" exclaimed Euth, as they peered 
out from one window after another. " Have you had 
many deaths here ?" asked she of the gate-keeper. 

" Some, ma'am. There is one corpse in the house 
now ; a married lady, Mrs. Leon." 

" Good heavens !" exclaimed Euth, " my Mend Mary." 

" Died yesterday, ma'am ; her husband left her here for 
her heaM, while he went to Europe." 

" Can I see the Superintendent," asked Euth ; " I must 
speak to him." 

Euth followed the gate-keeper up the ample steps into 
a wide hall, and from thence into a small parlor ; after 
waiting what seemed to her an age of time, Mr. Tibbetts, 
the Superintendent, entered. He was a tall, handsome 
man, between forty and fifty, with a very imposing air 
and address. 

" I am pained to learn,'' said Euth, " that a friend of 
mine, Mrs. Leon, lies dead here ; can I see the body 1" 

" Are you a relative of that lady 1" asked Mr. Tib- 
betts, with a keen glance at Euth. 

" No," replied Euth, " but she was very dear to me. 
The last time I saw her, not many months since, she 
was in tolerable health. Has she been long with you, 
Sir 1" 



BUTH HALL. 311 

" About two months," replied Mr. Tibbetts ; " she was 
hopelessly crazy, refused food entirely, so that we were 
obliged to force it. Her husband, who is an intimate 
friend of mine, left her under my care, and went to the 
Continent. A very fine man, Mr. Leon." 

Euth did not feel inclined to respond to this remark, 
but repeated her request to see Mary. 

" It is against the rules of our establishment to per- 
mit this to any but relatives^" said Mr. Tibbetts. 

" I should esteem it a great favor if you would break 
through your rules in my case," replied Euth ; " it wiU be 
a great consolation to me to have seen her once more ;" 
and her voice faltered. 

The appeal was made so gently, yet so firmly, that 
Mr. Tibbetts reluctantly yielded. 

The matron of the establishment, Mrs. Bunce, (whose 
advent was heralded by the clinking of a huge bunch of 
keys at her waist,) soon after came in. Mrs. Bunce was 
gaunt, sallow and bony, with restless, yellowish, glaring 
black eyes, very much resembling those of a cat in the 
dark ; her motions were quick, brisk, and angular ; her 
voice loud, harsh, and wiry. Euth felt an instantaneous 
aversion to her ; which was not lessened by Mrs. Bunce 
asking, as they passed through the parlor^door : 

"Fond of looking at corpses, ma'am? I've seen a 
great many in my day ; I 've laid out more 'n twenty peo- 
ple, first and last, with my own hands. Eelation of Mrs. 



212 RUTH HALL. 

Leon's, perhaps?" said she, curiously peering under 
Euth's bonnet. '■ Ah, only a friend ?" 
* " This way, if you please, ma'am ;" and on they went, 
through one corridor, then another, the massive doors 
swinging heavily to on their hinges, and fastening behind 
them as they closed. 

" Hark !" said Euth, with a quick, terrified look, 
"what's that?" 

" Oh, nothing," replied the matron, " only a crazy 
woman in that room yonder, screaming for her chUd. 
Her husband ran away from her and carried off her chOd 
with him, to spite her, and now she fancies every foot- 
step she hears is his. Visitors always thinks she screams 
awful. She can't harm you, ma'am," said the matron, 
mistaking the cause of Euth's shudder, "for she is 
chained. She went to law about the child, and the law, 
you see, as it generally is, was on the man's side ; and it 
just upset her. She 's a sight of trouble to manage. If 
she was to catch sight of your little girl out there in the 
garden, she 'd spring at her through them bars like a 
panther; but we don't have to whip her very often." 

" Down here," said the matron, taking the shuddering 
Euth by the hand, and descending a flight of stone steps, 
into a dark passage-way. " Tired ar n't you ?" 

" Wait a bit, please," said Euth, leaning against the 
stone wall, for her limbs were trembling so violently that 
she could scarcely bear her weight. 



RUTH HALL. 213 

" Wow," said she, (after a pause,) with a firmer voice 
and step. 

" This way," said Mrs. Bunce, advancing towards a 
rough deal box which stood on a table in a niche of the 
cellar, and setting a small lamp upon it; "she didn't 
look no better than that, ma'am, for a long while before 
she died." 

Euth gave one hurried glance at the corpse, and buried 
her face in her hands. Well might she fail to recognize 
in that emaciated form, those sunken eyes and hollow 
cheeks, the beautiful Mary Leon. Well might she shud- 
der, as the gibbering screams of the maniacs over head 
echoed through the stillness of that cold, gloomy vault. 

" Were you with her at the last?" asked Euth of the 
matron, wiping away her tears. 

" No," replied she ; " the afternoon she died she said, 
' I want to be aloiie,' and, not thinking her near her end, 
I took my work and sat just outside the door. I looked 
in once, about half an hour after, but she lay quietly 
asleep, with her cheek in her hand, — so. By-and-bye I 
thought I would speak to her, so I went in, and saw her 
lying just as she did when I looked at her before. I spoke 
to her, but she did not answer me ; she was dead, ma'am." 

0, how mournfully sounded in Euth's ears those plain- 
tive words, " I want to be alone." Poor Mary ! aye, bet 
ter even in death ' alone,' than gazed at by careless, hire- 



214 RUTH H^LI.. 

ling eyes, since he who should have closed those drooping 
lids, had wearied of their faded light. 

" Did she speak of no one f asked Ruth ; " mention 
no one ?" 

" No — ^yes ; I recollect now that she said something 
about calling Ruth; I didn't pay any attention, for 
they don't know what they are saying, you know. She 
scribbled something, too, on a bit of paper ; I found it 
under her pUlow, when I laid her out. I shouldn't 
wonder if it was in my pocket now ; I have n't thought of 
it since. Ah ! here it is," said Mrs. Bunce, as she handed 
the slip of paper to Ruth. 

It ran thus : — " I am not crazy, Ruth, no, no — but I 
shall be ; the air of tMs place stifles me ; I grow weaker — 
weaker. I cannot die here 5 for the love of heaven, dear 
Ruth, come and take me away." 

" Only ikree mourners, — a woman and two little girls," 
exclaimed a by-stander, as Ruth followed Mary Leon to 
her long home. 



CHAPTER LV. 

npHE sudden change in Mrs. Skiddy's matrimonial 
prospects, necessitated Euth to seek other quarters. 
With a view to still' more ri^d economy, she hired a 
room without board, in the lower part of the city. 

Mrs. Waters, her new landlady, was one of that de- 
scription of females, whose vision is bounded by a mop, 
scrubbing-brush, and dust-pan ; who repudiate rainy wash- 
ing days ; whose hearth, Jowler, on the stormiest night, 
would never venture near without a special permit, and 
whose husband and children speak under their breath on 
baking and cleaning days. Mrs. Waters styled herself a 
female physician. She kept a sort of witch's cauldron con- 
stantly boiling over the fire, in which seethed all - sorts of 
" mints " and " yarbs," and from which issued what she 
called a " poteoary odor." Mrs. Waters, when not en- 
gaged in stirring this cauldron, or in her various house- 
keeping duties, alternated her leisure in reading medical 



216 



RUTH HALL. 



books, attending medical lectures, and fondling a pet 
skuU, which lay on the kitchen-dresser. 

Various little boxes of brown-bread-looking piUs or- 
namented the upper shelf, beside a row of little dropsical 
chunky junk bottles, whose labels would have puzzled 
the most erudite M. D. who ever received a diploma. 
Mrs. Waters felicitated herself On knowing how the 
outer and inner man of every son of Adam was put 
together, and considered the times decidedly " out of 
joint ;" inasmuch that she, Mrs. Waters, had not been 
called upon by her country to fill some medical professor- 
ship. 

In person Mrs. Waters was bafber-pole-ish and ram- 
rod-y, and her taste in dress running mostly to 
stringy fabrics, l assisted the bolster-y impression she 
created ; her hknds and wrists bore a strong resemblance 
to the yellow claws of defunct chickens, which children 
play "scare" with about Thanksgiving time; her feet 
were of turtle flatness, and her eyes — if you ever pro- 
voked a cat up to the bristling and scratching point, you 
may possibly form an idea of them. 

Mrs. Waters condescended to allow Euth to keep the 
quart of milk and loaf of bread, (which was to serve for 
her bill of fare for every day's three meals,) on a swing 
shelf in a comer of the cellar. As Ruth's room was at 
the top of the house, it was somewhat of a journey to 
travel up and down, and the weather was too warm to 



RUTH HALL. 217 

keep it up stairs ; to her dismay she soon found that the 
cellar-floor was generally more or less flooded with wa- 
ter, and the sudden change from the heated air of her 
attic to the dampness of the cellar, brought on a racking 
cough, which soon told upon her health. Upon the first 
symptom of it, Mrs. Waters seized a box of pills and 
hurried to her room, assuring her that it was " a sure 
cure, and only three shillings a box." 

" Thank you," said Ruth ; " but it is my rule never to 
take medicine unless — " 

" Oh, oh," said Mrs. Waters, bridling up ; " I see — im- 
less it is ordered by a physician, you were going to say ; 
perhaps you don't know that / am a physician — ^none the 
worse for being a female. I have investigated things ; I 
have dissected several cats, and sent in an analysis of them 
to the Medical Journal ; it has never been published, ow 
ing, probably, to the editor being out of town. If you wiU 
take six of these pills every other night," said the doc- 
tress, laying the box on the table, " it wiU cure your 
cough ; it is only three shillings. I will take the money 
now, or charge it in your bill." 

"Three shillings!" Euth was aghast; she might as 
well have asked her three dollars. If there was anything 
Ruth was afraid of, it was Mrs. Waters' style of woman ; 
a loaded cannon, or a regiment of dragoons, would have 
had few terrors in comparison. But the music must be 
faced ; so, hoping to avoid treading on her landlady's pro- 
10 



218 RUTH HALL. 

fessional toes, Euth said, " I think I '11 try first what diet- 
ing will do, Mrs. Waters." 

The door instantly hanged to with a crash, as the 
owner and vender of the pills passed out. The next 
day Mrs. Waters drew off a little superfluous feminine 
tile, l)y announcing to Euth, with a .malignity worthy of 
her sex, " that she forgot to mention when she let her 
lodgings, !ihat she should expect her to scour the stairs 
she traveled over, at least once a week." 



CHAPTER LVI. 

TT was a sultry morning in July. Euth had risen early, 
for her cough seemed more troublesome in a reclining 
posture. " I wonder what that noise can be V said she to 
herself; whir — whir — whir, it went, all day long in the 
attic overhead. She knew that Mrs. Waters had one other 
lodger beside herself, an elderly gentleman by the name 
of Bond, who cooked his own food, and whom she often 
met on the stairs, coming up with a pitcher of water, or 
a few eggs in a paper bag, or a pie that he had bought of 
Mr. Flake, at the little black grocery-shop at the corner. 
On these occasions he always stepped aside,. and with a 
deferential bow waited for Euth to pass. He was a thin, 
spare man, slightly bent ; his hair and whiskers curiously 
striped like a zebra, one lock being jet black, while the 
neighboring one was as distinct a white. His dress 
was plain, but very neat and tidy. He never seemed to 
have any business out-doors, as he .stayed in his room all 



220 HUTH HALL. 

day, never leaving it at all till dark, when he paced up 
and down, with his hands behtad him, before the house. 
"Whir — whir — whir." It was early sunrise; but 
Ruth had heard that odd noise for two hours at least. 
What could it mean 1 Just then a carrier passed on the 
other side of the street with the morning papers, and 
slipped one under the crack of the house door opposite. 

A thought ! why could not Euth write for the papers ? 
How very odd it had never occurred to her before ? Yes, 
write for the papers — why not ? She renoiembered that 
while at boarding-school, an editor of a paper in the same 
town used often to come in and take down her compo- 
sitions in short-hand as she read them aloud, and trans- 
fer them to the columns of his paper. She certainly 
ought to write better now than she did when an inexperi- 
enced girl. She would begin that very night ; but where 
to make a beginning ? who would publish her articles ? 
how much would they pay her? to whom should she 
apply first ? There was her brother Hyacinth, now the 
prosperous editor of the Irving Magazine ; oh, if he would 
only employ her ? Ruth was quite sure she could write 
as well as some of his correspondents, whom he had 
praised with no niggardly pen. She would prepare sam- 
ples to send immediately, annoimoing her intention, and 
offering them for his acceptance. This means of support 
would be so congenial, so absorbing. At the needle one's 
mind could still be brooding over sorrowful thoughts. 



RUTH HALL. 221 

Ruth counted the days and hours impatiently, as she 
waited for an answer. Hyacinth surely would not refuse 
her when in almost every number of his magazine he was 
announcing some new contributor ; or, if he could not 
employ her himself, he surely would be brotherly enough 
to point out to her some one of the many avenues so ac- 
cessible to a man of extensive newspaperial and literary 
acquaintance. She would so gladly support herself, so 
cheerfully toil day and night, if need be, could she only 
win an independence ; and Ruth recalled with a sigh 
Katy's last visit to her father, and then she rose and 
walked the floor in her impatience ; and then, her restless 
spirit urging her on to her fate, she went again to the 
post office to see if there were no letter. How long the 
clerk made her wait ! Yes, there was a letter for her, and 
in her brother's hand-writing too. Oh, how long since she 
had seen it ! 

Ruth heeded neither the jostling of oifioe-boys, porters, 
or draymen, as she held out her eager hand for the letter. 
Thrusting it hastily in her pocket, she hurried in breathless 
haste back to her lodgmgs. The contents were as fol- 
lows: 

" I have looked over the pieces you sent me, Ruth. It 
is very evident that writing never can be your forte ; you 
have no talent that way. You may possibly be employed 
by some inferior newspapers, but be assured your articles 



222 RUTH HALL. 

never will be heard of out of your own little provincial 
city. For myself I have plenty of contributors, nor do 
I know of any of my literary acquaintances who would 
employ you. I would advise you, therefore, to seek 
some unobtrusive employment. Your brother, 

"Hyacinth Ellet." 

A bitter smile struggled with the hot tear that fell 
upon Euth's cheek. " I have tried the unobtrusive em- 
ployment," said Kuth ; " the wages are six cents a day. 
Hyacinth ;" and again the bitter smile disfigured her gen- 
tle lip. 

« No talent !" 

" At another tribunal than his will I appeal." 

" Never be heard of out of my own little provincial city !" 
The cold, contemptuous tone stung her. 

" But they shall be heard of;" and Euth leaped to 
her feet. " Sooner than he dreams of, too. I can do 
it, I feel it, I will do it," and she closed her lips 
firmly ; " but there will be a desperate struggle first," 
and she clasped her hands over her heart as if it 
had already commenced ; " there will be scant meals, 
and sleepless nights, and weary days, and a throb- 
bing brow, and an aching heart ; there will be the chilling 
tone, the rude repulse ; there will be ten backward steps 
to one forward. Pride must sleep ! but — " and Euth 
glanced at her childrer — " it shall be done. They shall 



RUTH HALL. 223 

be proud of their mother. Hyacinth shall yet be proud 
to claim his sister." 

" What is it, mamma V asked Katy, looking wonder- 
ingly at the strange expression of her mother's face. 

" What is it, my darling ?" and Euth caught up the 
child with convulsive energy ; " what is it ? only that 
when you are a woman you shall remember this day, my 
little pet ;'' and as she kissed Katy's upturned brow a 
bright spot burned on her cheek, and her eye glowed like 
a star. 



CHAPTER LYII. 



" TjOCTOE r said Mrs. Hall, " put down that book, 
will you 1 I want to talk to you a bit ; there 
you 've sat these three hours, without stirring, except to 
brush the flies oiT your nose, and my tongue actually 
aches keeping still." 

" Sh-sh-sh," said the doctor, running his forefinger 
along to guide his purblind eyes safely to the end of the 
paragraph. " Sh-sh. ' It — is es-ti-ma-ted by Captain Smith 
— that — ^there — are — up'ards— of — ten — hundred — ^human 
— critters — in — the — Nor-West — sett-le-ment.' Well — 
Mis. Hall — well — " said the doctor, laying a faded rib- 
bon mark between the leaves of the book, and pushing 
his spectacles back on his forehead, " what 's to pay now ? 
what do you want of me ?" 

" I 've a great mind as ever I had to eat," said the old 
lady, pettishly, " to knit twice round the heel of this 
stocking, before I answer you ; what do you think I care 



KUTH HALL. 223 

about Captain Smith ? Travelers always lie ; it is a part 
of their trade, and if they don't it 's neither here nor there 
to me. I wish that book was in the Red Sea." 

" I thought you did n't want it read" retorted the irri- 
tating old doctor. 

" Now I suppose you call that funny,'' said the old 
lady. " I call it simply ridiculous for a man of your 
years to play on words in such a frivolous manner. 
What I was going to say was this, i. e. if I can get a 
chance to say it, if you have given up all idea of getting 
Harry's children, / have n't, and now is the time to ap- 
ply for Katy again ; for, according to all accounts, Euth 
is getting along poorly enough." 

" How did you hear 1" asked the doctor, 

" Why, my milliner. Miss Tiffkins, has a nephew who 
tends in a little grocery-shop near where Ruth boards, 
and he says that she buys a smaller loaf every time she 
comes to the store, and that the milkman told him that 
she only took a pint of milk a day of Mm now ; then 
Katy has not been well, and what she did for doctors and 
medicines is best known to herself; she 's so independent 
that she never would complain if she had to eat paving 
stones. The best way to get the child will be to ask her 
here on a visit, and say we want to cure her up a little 
with country air. You understand ] that will throw dust 
in Ruth's eyes, and then we will take our own time about 
letting ^her go back you know. Miss Tiffkins says her 
10* 



226 RUTH HALL. 

nephew says that people who come into the grocery-shop 
are very curious to know who Kuth is ; and old Mr. 
Flake, who keeps it, says that it would n't hurt her any, if 
she is a lady, to stop and talk a little, like the rest of his 
customers ; he says, too, that her children are as close- 
mouthed as their mother, for when he just asked Katy 
what business her father used to do, and what supported 
them now he was dead, and if they lived all the time on 
bread and milk, and a few such little questions, Katy 
answered, ' Mamma does not allow me to talk to stran- 
gers,' and went out of the shop, with her loaf of bread, 
as dignified as a little duchess." 

" Like mother, like child," said the doctor ; " proud 
and poor, proud and poor; that tells the whole story. 
Well, shall I write to Euth, Mis. Hall, about Katy?" 

" No,'' said the old lady, " let me manage that ; you 
will upset the whole business if you do. I 've a plan in 
my head, and to-morrow, after breakfast, I '11 take the old 
chaise, and go in after Katy." 

In pursuance of this plan, the old lady, on the following 
day, climbed up into an old-fashioned chaise, and turned 
the steady old horse's nose in the direction of the city ; 
jerking at the reins, and clucking and gee-ing him up, 
after the usual awkward fashion of sexegenarian female 
drivers. Using Miss Tiffkin's land-mark, the little black 
grgcery-shop, for. a guide-board, she soon discovered 
Euth's abode ; and so well did she play her part in com- 



RUTH HALL. 227 

miserating Euth's misfortunes, and Katy's sickly appear- 
ance, that the widow's kind heart was immediately tor- 
tured with the most unnecessary self-reproaches, which 
prepared the way for an acceptance of her invitation for 
Katy " for a week or two ;" great promises, meanwhile, 
being held out to the chUd of " a little pony to ride," and 
various other tempting lures of the same kind. Still 
little Katy hesitated, clinging tightly to her mother's 
dress, and looking, with her clear, searching eyes, into her 
grandmother's face, in a way thatwould have embarrassed 
a less artful manoeuverer. The old lady understood the 
glance, and put it on file, to be attended to at her leisure ; 
it being no part of her present errand to play the unami- 
able. Little Katy, finally won over, consented to make 
the visit, and the old chaise was again set in motion for 
home. 



CHAPTER LVIII. 

"TTOW d'ye do, Eathl" asked Mr. EUet, the next 

-'■-'■ morning, as he ran against Euth in the street; 
'' glad you have taken my advice, and done a sensible 
thing at last." 

" 1 don't know what you mean," answered Ruth. 

"Why, the doctor told me yesterday that you had 
given Katy up to them, to bring up ; you would have 
done better if you had sent off Nettie too." 

" I have not ' given Katy up,' " said Ruth, starting and 
blushing deeply ; " and they could not have' understood it 
so ; she has only gone on a visit of a fortnight, to recruit 
a little." 

"Pooh— pooh!" replied Mr. EUet. "The thing is 
quietly over with ; now don't make a fuss. The old folks 
expect to keep her. They wrote to me about it, and I 
approved of it. It 's the best thing all round ; and, as I 
just said, it would have been better still if Nettie had 



RUTH HALL. 229 

gone, too. Now don't make a fool of yourself; you can 
go once in awhile, I suppose, to see the child." 

" How can I go ?" asked Kuth, looking her father calmly 
in the face ; " it costs fifty cents every trip, by railroad, 
and you know I have not the money." 

" That 's for you to decide," answered the father coldly ; 
" I can't be bothered about such trifles. It is the way you 
always do, Ruth, whenever I see you ; but it is time I was 
at my office. Don't make a fool of yourself, now ; mind 
what I tell you, and let well alone." 

" Father," said Ruth; " father—" 

" Can't stop — can't stop," said Mr. EUet, moving rap- 
idly down street, to get out of his daughter's way. 

" Can it be possible," thought Ruth, looking after him, 
" that he could connive at such duplicity ? Was the old 
lady's sympathy a mere stratagem to work upon my 
feelings 1 How unnecessarily I reproached myself with 
my supposed injustice to her 1 Can good people do such 
things ? Is religion only a fable ? No, no ; ' let God be 
true, and every man a liar.' " 



CHAPTER LIX 

"TS this 'The DaUy Type' office?" asked Euth of a 
printer's boy, who was rushing down five steps at a 
time, with an empty pail in his hand. 

" All you have to do is to ask, mem. You 've got a 
tongue in your head, have n't ye ? women folks generally 
has," said the little ruffian. 

Euth, obeying this civil invitation, knocked gently at 
the office door. A whir of machinery, and a bad odor 
of damp paper and cigar smoke, issued through the hal£ 
open crack. 

" I shall have to walk in," said Euth, " they never will 
hear my feeble knock amid all this racket and bustle ;" 
and pushing the door ajar, she found herself in the midst 
of a group of smokers, who, in slippered feet, and with 
heels higher than their heads, were whiifing and laughing, 
amid the pauses of conversation, most uproariously. 
Euth's face crimsoned as heels and cigars remained in ^ 
statu quo, imd her glance was met by a rude stare. 



BUTH HALL. 231 

" I called to see if you would like a new contributor to 
your paper," said Kuth ; " if so, I will leave a few samples 
of my articles for your inspection," 

" What do you say, Bill f said the person addressed ; 
" drawer full as usual, I suppose, is n't it "i more chaff than 
wheat, too, I '11 swear ; don't want any, ma'am ; come 
now, Jo, let 's hear the rest of that story ; shut the door, 
ma'am, if you please." 

" Are you the editor of the ' Parental Guide ' ■?" said 
Euth, to a thin, cadaverous-looking gentleman, in a white 
neck-cloth, and green spectacles, whose editorial sanctum 
was not far from the office she had just left. 

" I am." 

" Do you employ contributors for your paper ?" 

" Sometimes." 

" Shall I leave you this MS. for your inspection, sir ?" 

" Just afl you please." 

" Have you a copy of your paper here, sir, from which 
I could judge what style of articles you prefer V 

At this, the gentleman addressed raised his eyes for 
the first time, wheeled his editorial arm-chair round, 
facing Euth, and peering over his green spectacles, re- 
marked : 

" Our paper, madam, is most em-phat-i-oal-ly a paper 
devoted to the interests of religion ; no frivolous jests, 
no love-sick ditties, no fashionable sentimentalism, finds a 



232 



RUTH HALL. 



place in its columns. This is a serious world, madam, 
and it ill becomes those who are bom to die, to go 
dancing through it. Josephus remarks that the Saviour 
of the world was never known to smile, /seldom smile. 
Are you a religious woman, madam l" 

" I endeavor to become so," answered Buth, 

" V-e-r-y good ; what sect ?" 

" Presbyterian." 

At this the white neck-clothed gentleman moved back 
his chair : " Wrong, madam, all wrong ; I was educated by 
the best of fathers, but he was not a Presbyterian ; his 
son is not a Presbyterian ; his son's paper sets its face 
like a flint against that heresy; no, madam, we shall 
have no occasion for your contributions ; a hope built on 
a Presbyterian foundation, is buUt on the sand. Good 
morning, madam." 

Did Euth despair ? No ! but the weary little feet 
which for so many hours had kept pace with hers, needed 
a, reprieve. Little Nettie must go home, and Euth must 
read the office signs as she went along, to prepare for 
new attempts on the morrow. 

To-morrow? Would a brighter morrow ever cornel 
Euth thought of her children, and said again with a 
strong heart — it will; and taking little Netty upen her lap 
she divided with her their frugal supper — a scanty bowl 
of bread and milk. 



BUTH HALL. 233 

Ruth could not but acknowledge to herself that she 
had thus far met with but poor encouragement, but she 
knew that to climb, she must begin at the lowest round 
of the ladder. It were useless to apply to a long-estab- 
lished leading paper for employment, unless endorsed by 
some influential name. Her brother had coolly, almost 
contemptuously, set her aside ; and yet in the very last 
number of his Magazine, which accident threw in her 
way, he pleaded for public favor for a young actress, whom 
he said had been driven by fortune from the sheltered pri- 
vacy of home, to earn her subsistence upon the stage, 
and whose earnest, strong-souled nature, he thought, 
should meet with a better welcome than mere curiosity. 
" Oh, why not one word for me 1" thought Euth ; " and 
how can I ask of strangers a favor which a brother's 
heart has so coldly refused ?" 

It was very disagreeable applying to the small papers, 
many of the editors of which, accustomed to dealing 
with hoydenish contributors, were incapable of compre- 
hending that their manner towards Ruth had been 
marked by any want of that respectful courtesy due to a 
dignified woman. From all such contact Ruth shrank 
sensitively ; their free-and-easy tone fell upon her ear so 
painfully, as often to bring the tears to her eyes. Oh, 
if Harry — ^but she must not think of him. 

The next day Ruth wandered about the business 



234 RUTH HAIl. 

Streets, looking into office-entaies, reading signs, and try- 
ing to gather from their " know-nothing " hieroglyphics, 
some light to illumine her darkened pathway. Day after 
day chronicled only repeated failures, and now, notwith- 
standing she had reduced their already meagre fere, her 
purse was nearly empty. 



CHAPTER LX. 

TT was a warm, sultry Sabbath morning ; not a breath 
of air played over the heated roofs of the great, 
swarming city. Euth sat in her little, close attic, lean- 
ing her head upon her hand, weary, languid and dejected. 
Life seemed to her scarce worth the pains to keep its 
little flame flickering. A dull pain was in her temples, 
a heavy weight upon her heart. Other Sabbaths, happy 
Sabbaths, came up to her remembrance ; earth looked so 
dark to her now, heaven so distant, God's ways so in- 
scrutable. 

Hark to the Sabbath-bell ! 

Euth took little Nettie by the hand, and led her slowly 
to church. Other families, unbroken families, passed her 
on their way ; families whose sunny thresholds the de- 
stroying angel had never crossed. Oh why the joy to 
them, the pain to her ] Sadly she entered the church, 
and took her accustomed seat amid the worshippers. 



236 KniH HALL, 

The man of God opened the holy book. Sweet and clear 
fell upon Euth's troubled ear these blessed words : 
" There remaineth, therefore, a rest for the people of 
God." 

The bliss, the joy of heaven was pictured ; life, — ^mys- 
terious, crooked, imfathomable life, made clear to the eye 
of feith ; sorrow, pain, suffering, ignominy even, made 
sweet for His sake, who suffered all for us. 

Euth weeps ! weeps that her faith was for an instant 
o'erclouded ; weeps that she shrank from breasting the 
foaming waves at the bidding of Him who said, " It is I, 
be not afraid." And she, who came there fluttering with 
a broken wing, went away singing, soaring. 

Oh man of God ! pressed down with many cares, anx- 
ious and troubled, sowing but not reaping, fearing to 
bring in no sheaves for the harvest, be of good cour- 
age. The arrow shot at a venture may to thine eye fall 
aimless ; but in the Book of Life shalt thou read many 
an answer to the wrestling prayer, heard in thy doset 
by God alone. 



CHAPTER LXI. 



" "T?INE day, Mr. EUet," said a country clergyman to 
■•- Ruth's father, as he sat comfortably ensconced in 
his counting-room. " I don't see but you look as young 
as you did when I saw you five years ago. Life has 
gone smoothly with you ; you have been remarkably 
prospered in business, Mr. EUet." 

" Yes, yes," said the old gentleman, who was inordi- 
nately fond of talking of himself; " yes, yes, I may say 
that, though I came into Massachusetts a-foot, with a loaf 
of bread and a sixpence, and now, — well, not to boast, I 
own this house, and the land attached, beside my country- 
seat, and have a nice little sum stowed away in the bank 
for a rainy day ; yes. Providence has smiled on my en- 
terprise ; my affairs are, as you say, in a very prosper- 
ous condition. I hope religion flourishes in your church, 
brother aark." 

" Dead — dead — dead, as the valley of dry bones," re- 
plied Mr. Clark with a groan. " I have been trying to 
' get up a revival ;' but Satan reigps-r'Satan reigns, and 



238 



RUTH HALL. 



the right arm of the church seems paralysed, Sometimea 
I thmk the stumhlmg-block is the avaricious and money- 
grabbing spirit of its professors." 

" Very likely," answered Mr. Ellet ; " there is a great 
deal too much of that in the church. I alluded to it my- 
self, in my remarks at the last church-meeting. I called 
it the accursed thing, the Achan in the camp, the Jonah 
•which was to hazard the Lord's Bethel, and I humbly 
hope my remarks were blessed. I understand from the 
last Monthly Concert, brother Clark, that there are good 
accounts from the Sandwich Islands ; twenty heathen ad- 
mitted to the church in one day ; good news that." 

" Yes," groaned brother Clark, to whose blurred vision 
the Sun of Eighteousness was always clouded ; " yes, but 
think how many more are still, and always will be, 
worshipping idols ; think how long it takes a missionary 
to acquire a knowledge of the language ; and think how 
many, just as they become perfected in it, die of the cli- 
mate, or are kiUed by the natives, leaving their helpless 
young families to burden the ' American Board.' Very 
sad, brother Ellet ; sometimes, when I think of all this 
outlay of money and human lives, and so little accom- 
plished, I — " (here a succession of protracted sneezes 
prevented Mr. Clark from finishing the sentence.) 

" Yes," replied Mr. Ellet, coming to the rescue ; " but if 
only one heathen had been saved, there would be joy for- 
ever in heaven. He who saveth a soul from death, you 



RUTH HALL. 239 

know, hideth a multitude of sios. I think I spoke a word 
in season, the other day, which has resulted in one admis- 
sion, at least, to our church." 

" It is to be hoped the new member will prove stead- 
fast," said the well-meaning but hypochondriac brother 
Clarlt, with another groan. " Many a hopeful convert 
goes back to the world, and the last state of that soul is 
worse than the first. Dreadful, dreadfiil. I am heart- 
sick, brother EUet." 

" Come," said Ruth's father, tapping him on the 
shoulder ; " dinner is ready, will you sit down with us 1 
First salmon of the season, green peas, boiled fowl, 
oysters, &c. ; your country parishioners don't feed you 
that way, I suppose." 

"N — o," said brother Clark, "no; there is no verse 
in the whole Bible truer, or more dishonored in the ob- 
servance, than this, ' The laborer is worthy of his hire.' 
I '11 stay to dinner, brother Ellet. You have, I bless God, 
a warm heart and a liberal one ; your praise is in aU the 
churches." 

A self-satisfied smile played round the lips of Ruth's 
father, at this tribute to his superior sanctity ; and, seating 
himself at the well-spread table, he uttered an unusually 
lengthy grace. 



" Some more supper, please, Mamma," vainly pleaded 
little Nettie. 



CHAPTER LIU. 



T) UTH had found employment. Euth's MSS. had been 
accepted at the office of " The Standard." Yes, an 
article of hers was to be published in the very next issue. 
The remuneration was not what Euth had hoped, but it 
was at least a beginning, a stepping-stone. What a pity 
that Mr. Lesoom's (the editor's) rule was, not to pay a 
contributor, even after a piece was accepted, until it was 
printed — ^and Euth so short of funds. Could she hold out 
to work so hard, and &re so rigidly \ for often there was 
only a crust left at night ; but, God be thanked, she 
should now earn that crust ! It was a pity that oil was 
so dear, too, because most of her writing must be done 
at night, when Nettie's little prattling voice was hushed, 
and her innumerable little wants forgotten in sleep. Yes, 
it was a pity that good oil was so dear, for the cheaper 
kind crusted so soon on the wick, and Euth's eyes, from 
excessive weeping, had become quite tender, and often 
very painful. Then it would be so mortifymg should ft 



RUTH HALL. 241 

mistake occur in one of her articles. She must write very 
legibly, for type-setters "were sometimes sad bunglers, 
making people accountable for words that would set Wor- 
cester's or Webster's hair on end ; but, poor things, they 
worked hard too — ^they had their sorrows, thinking, long 
into the still night, as they scattered the types, more of 
their dependent wives and children, than of the orthog- 
raphy of a word, Or the rhetoric of a sentence. 

Scratch — scratch — scratch, went Euth's pen ; the dim 
lamp flickering in the night breeze, while the deep breath- 
ing of the little sleepers was the watchword. On ! to 
her throbbing brow and weary fingers. One o'clock — 
two o'clock — three o'clock — the lamp burns low in the 
socket. Euth lays down her pen, and pushing back the 
hair from her forehead, leans faint and exhausted against 
the window-sill, that the cool night-air may fan her heated 
temples. How impressive the stillness ! Euth can 
almost hear her own heart beat. She looks upward, and 
the watchful stars seem to her like the eyes of gentle 
friends. No, God would not forsake her! A sweet 
peace steals into her troubled heart, and the overtasked 
lids droop heavily over the weary eyes. 

Euth sleeps. 



Daylight! Morning «o soon? All night Euth has 

leaned with her head on the window-sill, and now she 
11 



242 



RtTTH HALL. 



■wakes unrefreshed from the constrained posture ; but she 
has no time to heed that, for little Nettie lies moaning in 
her bed with pain ; she lifts the little creature in her lap, 
rocks her gently, and kisses her cheek ; but still little 
Nettie moans. Euth goes to the drawer and looks in 
her small purse (Harry's gift) ; it is empty ! then she 
clasps her hands and looks again at little Nettie. Must 
Nettie die for want of care ? Oh, if Mr. Lescom would 
only advance her the money for the contributions he had 
accepted, but he said so decidedly that " it was a rule he 
never departed from ;" and there were yet five long days 
before the next paper would be out. Five days ! what 
might not happen to Nettie in five days 1 There was her 
cousin, Mrs. Millet, but she had muffled her fiarniture in 
linen wrappers, and gone to the springs with her family, 
for the summer months ; there was her father, but had 
he not said " Eemember, if you will burden yourself with 
your children, you must not look to me for help." Kiss- 
ing little Nettie's cheek she lays her gently on the bed, 
whispering in a husky voice, " only a few moments, Net- 
tie; mamma will be back soon." She closes the door 
upon the sick child, and stands with her hand upon her 
bewildered brow, thinking. 

" I beg your pardon, madam ; the entry is so very dark 
I did not see you," said Mr. Bond ; " you are as early a 
riser as myself." 



KUTH HALL. 243 

" My child is sick," answered Ruth, tremulously ; " I 
was just going out for medicine." 

" If you approve of Homoeopathy," said Mr. Bond, 
" and will trust me to prescribe, there will be no neces- 
sity for your putting yourself to that trouble ; I always 
treat myself homoeopathioally in sickness, and happen to 
have a small supply of those medicines by me." 

Ruth's natural independence revolted at the idea of 
receiving a favor from a stranger. 

" Perhaps you disapprove of Homcsopathy," said Mr. 
Bond, mistaking the cause of her momentary hesitation ; 
" it works like a charm with children ; but if you prefer 
not to try it, allow me to go out and procure you what- 
ever you desire in the way of medicine ; you will not 
then be obliged to leave your child." 

Here was another dilemma — what sliould Ruth do ? 
Why, clearly accept his first offer ; there was an air of 
goodness and sincerity about him, which, added to his 
years, seemed to invite her confidence. 

Mr. Bond stepped in, looked at Nettie, and felt her 
pulse. " Ah, little one, we will soon have you better," 
said he, as he left the room to obtain his little package 
of medicines. 

" Thank you," said Ruth, with a grateful smile, as he 
administered to Nettie some infinitesimal pills. 

"Not in the least," said Mr. Bond. "I learned two 
years since to doctor myself in this way, and I have of 



244 E0TH HALL, 

ten had the pleasure of relieving others in emergencies 
like this, from my little Homoeopathio stores. You will 
find that your little girl will soon fall into a sweet sleep, 
and awake much relieved ; if you are careful with her, 
she will, I think, need nothing more in the way of medi- 
cine, or if she should, my advice is quite at your ser- 
vice ;" and, taking his pitcher of water in his hand, he 
bowed respectfully, and wished Ruth good morning. 

Who was he 1 what was he ? Whir — whir — there 
was the noise again ! That he w^as a man of refined and 
courteous manners, was very certain. Ruth felt glad he 
was so much her senior ; he seemed so like what Ruth 
had sometimes dreamed a kind father might be, that it 
lessened the weight of the obligation. Already little 
Nettie had ceased moaning ; her little lids began to droop, 
and her skin, which had been hot and feverish, became 
moist and cool. " May God reward him, whoever he 
may be," said Ruth. " Surely it is blessed to trust!" 



CHAPTEK LXIII. 

TT was four o'clock of a hot August afternooB. The 
■^ sun had crept round to the front piazza of the doctor's 
cottage. No friendly trees warded off his burning rays, 
for the doctor " liked a prospect ;" i. e. he liked to sit at 
the window and count the different trains which whizzed 
past in the course of the day ; the number of wagons, 
and gigs, and carriages, that rolled lazily up the hill ; to 
see the village engine, the " Cataract," drawn out on the 
green for its weekly ablutions, and to count the bundles 
of shingles that it took to roof over Squire Kuggles' 
new barn. No drooping vines, therefore, or creepers, in- 
truded between him and this pleasant " prospect." The 
doctor was an utilitarian ; he could see " no use" in such 
things, save to rot timber and harbor vermin. So a won- 
drous glare of white paint, (carefully renewed every 
spring,) blinded the traveler whose misfortune it was to 



246 BXJTH HALL. 

pass the road by the doctor's house. As I said, it was 
now four o'clock. The twelve o'clock dinner was long 
since over. The Irish girl had rinsed out her dish-towels, 
hung them out the back door to dry, and gone down to 
the village store to buy some new ribbons advertised as 
selling at an " immense sacrifice" by the disinterested 
village shopkeeper. 

Let us peep into the doctor's sitting room ; the air of 
this room is close and stifled, for the windows must be 
tightly closed, lest some audacious fly should make his 
mark on the old lady's immaculate walls. A centre 
table stands in the middle of the floor, with a copy of 
"The Religious Pilot," last year's Almanac, A Di- 
rectory, and "The remarkable Escape of Eliza Cook, 
who was partially scalped by the Indians." On one side 
of the room hangs a piece of framed needle-work, by the 
virgin fingers of the old lady, representing an unhappy 
female, weeping over a very high and very perpendicular 
tombstone, which is hieroglyphiced over with untrans- 
lateable characters in red worsted, while a few herbs, not 
mentioned by botanists, are struggling for existence at 
its base. A friendly willow-tree, of a most extraordi- 
nary shade of blue green, droops in sympathy over the 
afflicted female, while a nondescript looking bird, re- 
sembling a dropsical bull-frog, suspends his song and one 
leg, in the foreground. It was principally to preserve 



RUTH HALL. 247 

this chef-d'oeuvre of art, that the ■windows were hermeti- 
cally sealed to the entrance of vagrant flies. 

The old doctor, with his spectacles awry and his hands 
drooping listlessly at his side, snored from the depths of 
his arm-chair, while opposite him the old lady, peering 
out from behind a very stifly-starched cap border, was 
" seaming," " widening," and " narrowing," with a precis 
ion and perseverance most painful *o witness. Outside, 
the bee hummed, the robin twittered, the shining leaves of 
the village trees danced and whispered to the shifting 
clouds ; the free, glad breeze swept the tall meadow-grass, 
and the village children, as free and fetterless, danced and 
shouted at their sports ; but there sat little Katy, with 
her hands crossed in her lap, as she had sat for many an 
hour, listening to the never-ceasing click of her grand- 
mother's needles, and the sonorous breathings of the 
doctor's rubicund nose. Sometimes she moved uneasily 
in her chair, but the old lady's uplifted finger would im- 
mediately remind her that " little girls must be seen and 
not heard." It was a great thing for Katy when a mouse 
scratched on the wainscot, or her grandmother's ball 
rolled out of her lap, giving her a chance to stretch her 
little cramped limbs. And now the vUlage bell began to 
toll, with a low, booming, funereal sound, sending a cold 
shudder through the child's nervous and excited frame. 
What if her mother should die way off in the city ? 
What if she should always live in this terrible way at her 



248 EUTH HALL. 

grandmother's? with nohody to love her, or kiss her or 
pat her little head kindly, and say, " Katy, dear ;" and 
again the hell hoomed out its mournful sound, and little 
Katy, unable longer to bear the torturing thoughts it 
called up, sobbed aloud. 

It was all in vain, that the frowning old lady held up 
her warning finger ; the flood-gates were opened, and Katy 
could not have stopped her tears had her life depended 
on it. 

Hark ! a knock at the door ! a strange footstep ! 

" Mother !" shrieked the child hysterically, " mother !" 
and flew into Euth's sheltering arms. 

" "What shall we do, doctor %" asked the old lady, the 
day after Euth's visit. " I trusted to her not being able 
to get the money to come out here, and her father, I 
knew, would n't give it to her, and now here she has 
walked the whole distance, with Nettie in her arms, ex- 
cept a lift a wagoner or two gave her on the road ; and I 
verily believe she would have done it, had it been twice 
the distance it is. I never shall be able to bring up that 
child according to my notions, while she is round. I 'd 
forbid her the house, (she deserves it,) only that it won't 
sound well if she tells of it. And to think of that un- 
grateful little thing's flying into her mother's arms as if 
she was in the last extremity, after all we have done for 
her. I don't suppose Euth would have left her with us, as 



RUTH HALL. 249 

it is, if she had the bread to put in her mouth. She might 
as well give her up, though, first as last, for she never 
will be able to support her." 

" She 's fit for nothing but a parlor ornament," said the 
doctor, " never was. No more business talent in Ruth 
Ellet, than there is in that chany image of yours on the 
mantle-tree. Mis. Hall. That tells the whole story." 
11* 



CHAPTER LXIV. 



" T HAVE good news for you," said Mr. Leseom to 
■*- Ruth, at her next weekly visit ; " your very first arti- 
cles are copied, I see, into many of my exchanges, even 

into the , which seldom contains anything hut 

politics. A good sign for you Mrs. Hall ; a good test of 
your popularity." 

Ruth's eyes sparkled, and her whole face glowed, 
" Ladies like to be praised," said Mr. Leseom, good- 
humoredly, with a mischievous smile. 

" Oh, it is not that — not that, sir," said Ruth, with a 
sudden moistening of the eye, " it is because it will he 
bread for my children." 

Mr. Leseom checked his mirthful mood, and said, 
' Well, here is something good for me, too ; a letter from 
Missouri, in which the writer says, that if " Floy " (a 
pretty nom-de-plume that of yours, Mrs. Hall) is to be a 
contributor for the coming year, I may put him down as 



RUTH HALL. 251 

a subscriber, as well as S. Jones, E. May, and J. Noyes, 
all of the same place. That 's good news for me, you 
see," said Mr. Lescom, with one of his pleasant, beaming 
smiles. 

" Yes," replied Kuth, abstractedly. She was wondering 
if her articles were to be the means of swelling Mr. Les- 
com's subscription list, whether she ought not to profit by 
it as well as himself, and whether she should not ask him 
to increase her pay. She pulled her gloves oif and on, 
and finally mustered courage to clothe her thought in words. 

" Now that 's just like a woman," replied Mr. Lescom, 
turning it off with a joke ; " give them the least foot-hold, 
and they will want the whole territory. Had I not 
shown you that letter, you would have been quite con- 
tented with your present pay. Ah ! I see it won't do to 
talk so unprofessionally to you ; and you need n't expect," 
said he, smiling, " that I shall ever speak of letters con- 
taining new subscribers on your account. I could easily 
get you the offer of a handsome salary by publishing 
such things. No — no, I have been foolish enough to lose 
two or three valuable contributors in that way ; I have 
learned better than that, ' Floy' ; '' and taking out his 
purse, he paid Euth the usual sum for her articles. 

Ruth bowed courteously, and put the money in her 
purse ; but she sighed as she went down the office 
stairs. Mr. Lescom's view of the case was a business 
one, undoubtedly ; and the same view that almost any 



252 



EUTH HALL. 



other business man would have taken, viz,: to retain 
her at her present low rate of compensation, till he was 
necessitated to raise it by a higher bid from a rival 
quarter. And so she must plod wearily on tLQ that time 
came, and poor Katy must still be an exile ; for she had 
not enough to feed her, her landlady having raised the 
rent of her room two shillings, and Euth being unable to 
find cheaper accommodations. It was hard, but what 
could be done 1 Euth believed she had exhausted all the 
offices she knew of. Oh ! there was one, " The Pilgrim ;" 
she had not tried there. She would call at the office on 
her way home. 

The editor of "The Pilgrim" talked largely. He 
had, now, plenty of contributors ; he did n't know about 
employing a new one. Had she ever written 1 and what 
had she written 1 Euth showed him her article in the 
last number of " The Standard." 

"Oh— hum— hum!" said Mr. Tibbetts, changing his 
tone ; " so you are ' Floy,' are you V (casting his eyes 
on her.) " What pay do they give you over there ]" 

Euth was a novice in business-matters, but she had 
strong common sense, and that common sense said, he 
has no right to ask you that question ; don't you tell 
him ; so she replied with dignity, " My bargain, sir, with 
Mr. Lescom was a private one, I believe." 

"Hum," said the foiled Mr. Tibbetts ;. adding in an 
under-tone to his partner, "sharp that!" 



KUTH HAL^. 253 

" Well, if I conclude to engage you," said Mr. Tib- 
betts, " I should prefer you would write for me over a 
different signature than the one by which your pieces are 
indicated at The Standard office, or you can write exclu- 
sively for my paper." 

" With regard to your first proposal," said Ruth, " if 
I have gained any reputation by my first efibrts, it ap- 
pears to me that I should be foolish to throw it away by 
the adoption of another signature ; and with regard to 
the last, I have no objection to writing exclusively for 
you, if you will make it worth my while." 

" Sharp again," whispered Tibbetts to his partner. 

The two editors then withdrawing into a fiirther corner 
of the office, a whispered consultation followed, during 
which Ruth heard the words, "Can't affisrd it, Tom; 
hang it ! we are head over ears in debt now to that paper 
man ; good articles though—deuced good — must have her 
if we dispense with some of our other contributors. 
We had better begin low though, as to terms, for she '11 
go up now like a rocket, and when she finds out her 
value we shall have to increase her pay, you know." 

(Thank you, gentlemen, thought Ruth, when the cards 
change hands, I '11 take care to return the compliment.) 

In pursuance of Mr. Tibbetts' shrewd resolution, he 
made known his " exclusive " terms to Ruth, which were 
no advance upon her present rate of pay at The Stand- 
ard. This offer being declined, they made her another, 



254 R0TH HALL. 

in which, since she would not consent to do otherwise, 
they agreed she should write over her old signature, 
" Floy," furnishing them with two articles a week. 

Ruth accepted the terms, poor as they were, because 
she could at present do no better, and because every 
pebble serves to swell the current. 

Months passed away, while Ruth hoped and toiled, 
" Floy's " fame as a writer increasing much faster than 
her remuneration. There was rent-room to pay, little 
shoes and stockings to buy, oil, paper, pens, and ink to 
find; and now autumn had come, she could not write 
with stiifened fingers, and wood and coal were ruinously 
high, so that even with this new addition to her labor, 
Ruth seemed to retrograde pecuniarily, instead of 
advancing ; and Katy still away ! She must work 
harder — ^harder. Good, brave little Katy ; she, too, was 
bearing and hoping on — mamma had promised, if she 
would stay there, patiently, she would certainly take her 
away just as soon as she had earned money enough ; and 
mamma never broke her promise — never ; and Katy 
prayed to God every night, with childish trust, to help her 
mother to earn money, that she might soon go home again. 

And so, while Ruth scribbled away in her garret, the 
public were busying themselves in conjecturing who 
" Ploy '' might be. Letters poured in upon Mr. Les- 
com, with their inquiries, even bribing him with the oifer 



RUTH HALL. 255 

to procure a certain number of subscribers, if he would 
divulge her real name; to all of 'which the old 
man, true to his promise to Ruth, to keep her secret in- 
violate, turned a deaf ear. All sorts of rumors became 
rife about " Floy," some maintaining her to be a man, 
because she had the courage to call things by their right 
names, and the independence to express herself boldly 
on subjects which to the timid and clique-serving, were 
tabooed. Some said she was a disappointed old maid ; 
some said she was a designing widow ; some said she was 
a moon-struck girl ; and all said she was a nondescript. 
Some tried to imitate her, and failing in this, abused 
and maligned her ; the outwardly strait-laced and in- 
wardly corrupt, puckered up their mouths and " blushed 
for her;" the hypocritical denounced the sacrilegious fin- 
gers which had dared to touch the Ark ; the fashionist 
voted her a vulgar, plebeian thing ; and the earnest and 
sorrowing, to whose burdened hearts she had given voice, 
cried God speed her. And still " Floy" scribbled on, 
thinking only of bread for her children, laughing and 
crying behind her mask, — laughing all the more when 
her heart was heaviest; but of this her readers knew 
little and would have cared less. Still her little bark 
breasted the billows, now rising high on the topmost 
wave, now merged m the shadows, but still steering 
with straining sides, and a heart of oak, for the nearing 
port of Independence. 



356 



RUTH HALL. 



Ruth's brother, Hyacinth, saw "Floy's" articles floating 
through his exchanges with marked dissatisfaction and 
uneasiness. That she should have succeeded in any degree 
without his assistance, was a puzzle, and the premonitory 
symptoms of her popularity, which his weekly exchanges 
furnished, in the shape of commendatory notices, were 
gall and wormwood to him. Something must be done, 
and that immediately. Seizing his pen, he despatched a 
letter to Mrs. Millet, which he requested her to read to 
Euth, alluding very contemptuously to Ruth's articles, 
and begging her to use her influence with Ruth to desist 
from scribbling, and seek some other employment. 
What employment, he did not condescend to state ; in 
fact, it was a matter of entire indifference to him, pro- 
vided she did not cross his track. Ruth listened to the 
contents of the letter, with the old bitter smile, and went 
on writing. 



CHAPTER LXV. 

A DULL, drizzling rain spattered perseveringly against 
Ruth's windows, making her little dark room ten- 
fold gloomier and darker than ever. Little Nettie had 
exhausted her slender stock of toys, and creeping up to 
her mother's side, laid her head wearily in her lap. 

" Wait just a moment, Nettie, till mamma finishes this 
page," said Ruth, dipping her pen again in the old stone 
inkstand. 

The child crept hack again to the window, and watched 
the little pools of water in the streets, as the rain-drops 
dimpled them, and saw, for the hundredth time, the gro- 
cer's boy carrying home a brown-paper parcel for some 
customers, and eating something from it as he went along ; 
and listened to the milkman, who thumped so loudly 
on the back gates, and seemed always in such a tearing 
hurry ; and saw the baker open the lid of his boxes, and 
let the steam escape from the smoking hot cakes and 



258 EUTH HALL. 

pies. Nettie wished she could have some of them, but 
she had long since learned only to wish ; and then she 
saw the two little sisters who went hy to school every 
morning, and who were now cuddling, laughingly togeth- 
er, under a great big umbrella, which the naughty wind 
was trying to turn inside out, and to get away from them ;. 
and then Nettie thought of Katy, and wished she had 
Katy to play with her, when mamma wrote such a long, 
long time ; and then little Nettie drew such a heavy sigh, 
that Ruth dashed down her pen, and taking her in her 
arms and kissing her, told her about, 

" Mistress MoShuttle, 
Who lived iu a coal-scuttle, 

Along with her dog and her oat, 
What she did there, I can't tell, 
But I know very well, 

That none of the party were fat." 

And then she narrated the exciting adventures of " The 
Wise Men of Gotham," who went to sea in that rudder- 
less bowl, and suifered shipwreck and " total lass of life," 
as the newsboys (God bless their rough-and-ready faces) 
call it ; and then little Nettie's snowy lids drooped over 
her violet eyes, and she was far away in the land of 
dreams, where there are no little hungry girls, or tired, 
scribbling mammas. 

Euth laid the child gently on her little bed, and re- 
sumed her pen ; but the spell was broken, and " careful 



EUTH HALL. 259 

and troubled about many things'' she laid it down again, 
and her thoughts ran riot. 

Pushing aside her papers, she discovered two unopened 
letters which Mr. Lescom had handed her, and which she 
had in the hurry of finishing her next article, quite for- 
gotten. Breaking the seal of the first, she read as follows : 

"To 'Floy.' 

" I am a rough old man. Miss, and not used to writ- 
ing or talking to ladies. I don't know who you are, and 
I don't ask ; but I take ' The Standard,' and I like your 
pieces. I have a family of bouncing girls and boys ; and 
when we 've all done work, we get round the fire of an 
evening, while one of us reads your pieces aloud. It 
may not make much difference to you what an old man 
thinks, but I tell you those pieces have got the real stuff" 
in 'em, and so I told my son John the other night ; and he 
says, and I say, and neighbor Smith, who comes in to 
hear 'em, says, that you ought to make a book of them, 
so that your readers may keep them. You can put me 
down for three copies, to begin with ; and if every sub- 
scriber to ' The Standard ' feels as I do, you might make a 
plum by the operation. Suppose, now, you think of it ? 
" N. B. — John says, maybe you '11 be offended at my 
writing to you, but I say you 've got too much common 
sense. Yours to command, 

" John Stokes." 



260 EUTH HALL. 

" Well, -well," said Euth, laughing, " that 's a thought 
that never entered this busy head of mine, John Stokes, 
/publish a book? Why, John, are you aware that those 
articles were written for bread and butter, not fame ; and 
tossed to the printer before the ink was dry, or I had time 
for a second reading ? And yet, perhaps, there is more 
freshness about them than there would have been, had I 
leisure to have pruned and polished them — who knows ? 
I'll put your suggestion on file, friend Stokes, to be 
turned over at my leisure. It strikes me, though, that it 
will keep awhile. Thank you, honest John. It is just 
such readers as you whom I like to secure. Well, what 
have we here f and Euth broke the seal of the second 
letter. It was in a delicate, beautiful, female hand ; just 
such an one as you, dear Reader, might trace, whose 
sweet, soft eyes, and long, drooping tresses, are now 
bending over this page. It said : 

"Dear'Flot': 

" For you are ' dear ' to me, dear as a sister on 
whose loving breast I have leaned, though I never saw 
your face. I know not whether you are young and fair, 
or old and wrinkled, but I know that your heart is fresh, 
and guileless, and warm as childhood's ; and that every 
week your printed words come to me, in my sick cham- 
ber, like the ministrations of some gentle friend, some- 
times stirring to its very depths the fountain of tears, some- 



BUTH HALL. 361 

times, by odd and quaint conceits, provoking the mirth- 
ful smile. But ' Floy,' I love you best in your serious 
moods ; for as earth recedes, and eternity draws near, it 
is the real and tangible, my soul yearns after. And sure 
I am, ' Floy,' that I am not mistaken in thinking that we 
both lean on the same Eock of Ages ; both discern, 
through the mists and clouds of time, the Sun of Eight- 
eousness. I shall never see you, ' Floy,' on earth ; — ^mys- 
terious voices, audible only to the dying ear, are calling 
me away ; and yet, before I go, I would send you this 
token of my love, for all the sweet and soul-strengthening 
words you have unconsciously sent to my sick chamber, 
to wing the weary, waiting hours. We shall meet, ' Floy' ; 
but it will be where ' tears are wiped away.' 
" God bless you, my unknown sister. 

"MartE. ." 

Euth's head bowed low upon the table, and her lips 
moved ; but He to whom the secrets of all hearts are 
known, alone heard that grateful prayer. 



CHAPTER LXVI. 



rpHAT first miserable day at school ! Who that has 
known it — even with a mother's kiss burning on the 
cheek, a big orange bumping in the new satchel, and a 
promise of apple-dumplings for dinner, can review it with- 
out a shudder? Torturing — even when you can run 
home and " tell mother " all your little griefe ; when 
every member of the home circle votes it " a shame " that 
Johnny Oakes laughed because you did not take your 
alphabet the natural way, instead of receiving it by in- 
oculation, (just as he forgets that he did;) torturing— 
when Bill Smith, and Tom Simms, with whom you have 
" swapped alleys," and played " hockey," are there with 
their familiar faces, to take off the chill of the new school- 
room ; torturing — ^to the sensitive chUd, even when the 
teacher is a sunny-faced young girl, instead of a prim old 
ogre. Poor little Katy ! her book was before her ; but 
the lines blurred into one indistinct haze, and her throat 



RCTTH HALL, 263 

seemed filling to suffocation with long-suppressed sots. 
The teacher, if he thought anything about it, thought she 
had the tooth-ache, or ear-ache, or head-ache ; and Katy 
kept her own secret, for she had read his face correctly, 
and with a child's quick instinct, stifled down her throb- 
bing little heart. 

To the doctor, and " Mis. Hall," with their anti-pro- 
gressive notions, a school was a school. The committee 
had passed judgment on it, and I would like to know who 
would be insane enough to question the decision of a 
School Ck)mmittee ? What did the committee care, that 
the consumptive teacher, for his own personal conven- 
ience, madly excluded all ventilation, and heated the little 
sheet-iron stove hotter than Shadrack's furnace, till little 
heads snapped, and cheeks crimsoned, and croup stood 
ready at the threshold to seize the first little bare throat 
that presented its perspiring surface to the keen frosty 
air's What did they care that the desks were so con- 
structed, as to crook spines, and turn in toes, and round 
shoulders % What did they care that the funnel smoked 
week after week, till the curse of " weak eyes " was en- 
tailed on their victims for a lifetime ? They had other 
irons in the fire, to which this was a cipher. For instance : 
the village pump was out of repair, and town-meeting 
after town-meeting had been called, to see who should nH 
make its handle fly. North Gotham said it was the busi- 
ness of East Gotham; East Gotham said the pump might 



264 RUTH HALL. 

rot before they 'd bear the expense ; not that the East 
Gothamites cared for expense — no ; they scorned the in- 
sinuation, but they 'd have North Gotham to know that 
East Gotham was n't to be put upon. Jeremiah Stubbs, 
a staunch North Gothamite, stopped buying molasses and 
calico at " Ezekial Tibbs' East Gotham Finding Store ;'' 
and Ezekial Tibbs' forbade, under penalty of losing his 
custom, the carpenter who was repairing his pig-sty, 
from buying nails any more of Jeremiah Stubbs, of 
North Gotham ; matches were broken up ; "own cousins " 
ceased to know one another, and the old women had a 
millenial time of it over their bohea, discussing and set- 
tling matters ; no marvel that such a trifle as a child's 
school should be overlooked. Meantime there stood 
the pump, with its impotent handle, high and dry ; " a 
gone sucker," as Mr. Tibbs ftoetiously expressed it. 

" You' can't go to school to-day, Katy, it is washing- 
day," said old Mrs. Hall; "go get that stool, now sit 
down on it, at my feet, and let me cut off those foolish 
dangling curls." 

" Mamma likes them," said the child. 

"I know it," replied the old lady, with a malicious 
smile, as she gathered a cluster of them in one hand and 
seized the scissors with the other. 

" Papa liked them," said Katy, shrinking back. 

" No, he did n't," replied the old lady ; " or, if he did, 
'twas only to please your foolish mother ; any way they 



ETTTH HALL. 265 

are coining off; if I don't like them, that 's enough ; you 
are always to live with me now, Katy ; it makes no differ- 
ence what your mother thinks or says about anything, 
so you need n't quote her ; I 'm going to try to make a 
good girl of you, i. e. if she will let you alone ; you are 
full of faults, just as she is, and I shall have to take a 
great deal of pains with you. You ought to love me very 
much for it, better than anybody else in the world — don't 
you r 

(No response from Katy.) 

" I say, Katy, you ought to love me better than any- 
body else in the world," repeated the old lady, tossing a 
handful of the severed ringlets down on the carpet. " Do 
you, Katy V 

" No, ma'am," answered the' truthful child. 

" That tells the whole story," said the doctor, as he 
started up and boxed Katy's ears ; " now go up and stay 
in your room till I send for you, for being disrespectful 
to your grandmother." 

" Like mother — like child," said the old lady, as Katy 
half shorn, moved like a culprit out of the room ; then 
gathering up in her apron the shining curls, she looked ou 
with a malicious smile, while they crisped and blackened 
in the glowing Lehigh fire. 

But miserable as were the week-days — Sunday, after 
all, was the dreadful day for Katy ; the long — long — 
long Sunday, when every book in the house was put un- 
12 



266 RUTH HALL, 

der lock and key; when even religious newspapers, 
tracts, and memoirs, were tabooed ; when the old people, 
who fancied they could not go to church, sat from sunrise 
to sunset in their test clothes, with their hands folded, 
looking speechlessly into the fire; when there was no 
dinner ; when the Irish girl and the cat, equally lawless 
and heretical, went to see their friends ; when not a sound 
was heard in the house, save the ticking of the old claw- 
footed-clock, that stood in the entry ; when Katy crept up 
to her little room, and crouching in a comer, wondered 
if God was good — ^why he let her papa die, and why he 
did not help her mamma, who tried so hard to earn 
• money to bring her home. 

The last bright golden beam of the Sabbath sun had 
slowly faded away. One by one the stars came gliding 
out. He who held them all in their places, listening ever 
to the ceaseless music of their motion, yet bent a pity- 
ing ear to the stifled sob of a troubled child. Softly — 
sweetly — ^fell the gentle dew of slumber on weary eye- 
lids, while angels came to minister. Tears glittered still 
on Katy's long lashes, but the little lips parted with a 
smile, murmuring " Papa." Sleep on — dream on — little 
Katy. He who noteth the sparrow's fall, hath given 
his angels charge to keep thee. 



CHAPTER LXVII. 

TN one of the thousand business offices, in one of the 
-^ thousand crowded streets of a neighboring city, sat 
Mr. John Walter, with liis legs crossed, his right finger 
pressed against the right lobe of his organ of causality, 
his right elbow resting on his right knee, and the fingers 
of his left hand beating a sort of tattoo on a fresh copy 
of The Standard, which lay upon the table by his side. 
His attitude was one of profound meditation. 

" Who can she be V exclaimed Mr. Walter, in a 
tone of blended interest and vexation ; " who can she 
bef Mr. Walter raised his head, uncrossed his legs, 
took up The Standard, and re-read ' Floy's ' last article 
slowly ; often pausing to analyze the sentences, as though 
he would extort from them some hidden meaning, to 
serve as a clue to the identity of the author. After he 
had perused the article thus searchingly, he laid down 
The Standard, and again exclaimed, " Who can she 



268 



KUTH HALL. 



be ■? she is a genius certainly, whoever she is," continued 
he, soliloquizingly ; *' a bitter life experience she has had 
too ; she did not draw upon her imagination for this arti- 
cle. Like the very first production of her pen that I 
read, it is a wail from her inmost soul; so are many 
of her pieces. A few dozen of them taken consecutively, 
would form a whole history of wrong, and suffering, and 
bitter sorrow. What a singular being she must be, if I 
have formed a correct opinion of her ; what powers of 
endurance ! What an elastic, strong, brave, loving, fiery, 
yet soft and winning nature ! A bimdle of contradic- 
tions ! and how famously she has got on too ! it is only 
a little more than a year since her- first piece was pub- 
lished, and now her' articles flood the whole country; I 
seldom take up an exchange, which does not contain one 
or more of them. That first piece of hers was a stroke 
of genius — a real gem, although not very smoothly 
polished ; ever since I read it, I have been trying to find 
out the author's name, and have watched her career with 
eager interest ; her career, I say, for I suppose ' Floy ' 
to be a woman, notwithstanding the rumors to the con- 
trary. At any rate, my wife says so, and women have 
im instinct about such things. I wish I knew whether 
she gets well paid for her writings. Probably not. In- 
experienced writers seldom get more than a mere pit- 
tance. There are so many ready to write (poor fools !) 
for the honor and glory of the thing, and there are so 



EtTTH HALL. 269 

many ready to take advantage of this fact, and withhold 
from needy talent the moral right to a deserved remu- 
neration. Thank heaven, I have never practiced this. 
The ' Household Messenger ' does not yield me a very 
large income, but what it does yield is fairly earned. 
Why, bless me !" exclaimed Mr. Walter, suddenly start- 
ing up, and as suddenly sitting down again ; " why has 
not this idea occurred to me before ? yes, why not engage 
' Floy ' to write for the Household Messenger ] How I 
wish I were rich, that I might give her such a price as 
she really deserves. Let me see ; she now writes for 
The Standard, and The Pilgrim, four pieces a week for 
each ; eight pieces in all ; that is too much work for her 
to begin with ; she cannot do herself justice ; she ought 
not to write, at the outside, more than two pieces a week ; 
then she could polish them up, and strengthen them, and 
render them as nearly perfect in execution as they are in 
conception. One piece a week would be as much as I 
should wish ; could I possibly afford to pay her as much, 
or more for that one piece, as she now gets for eight 1 
Her name is a tower of strength, but its influence would 
be frittered away, were she to write for more than one 
paper. If I could secure her pen all to myself, the ad- 
vertising that such a connection would give The Mes- 
senger would be worth something. Ah me, were my 
purse only commensurate with my feelings. If I only 
knew who ' Floy ' is, and could hf ve an interview with her, 



270 B0TH HALL. 

I might perhaps arrange matters so as to benefit us both ; 
and I will know," exclaimed Mr. Walter, jumping up 
and pacing the room rapidly ; " I '11 know before I 'm a 
month older ;" and the matter was settled ; for when 
John Walter paced the floor rapidly, and said " I will," 
Fate folded her hands. 



CHAPTER LXYIII. 

« A LETTEE for 'Floy!'" said Mr. Lescom, Biniling. 
" Another lover, I suppose. Ah ! when you get to 
be my age," continued the old man, stroking his silver 
hair, " you will treat their communications with more at- 
tention." As he finished his remark, he held the letter 
up playfully for a moment, and then tossed it into Ruth's 
lap. 

Ruth thrust it unread into her apron pocket. She was 
thinking of her book, and many other things of far more 
interest to her than lovers, if lover the writer were. 
After correcting the proof of her articles for the next 
week's paper, and looking over a few exchanges, she 
asked for and received the wages due her for the last 
articles published, and went home. 

Ruth was wearied out ; her walk home tired her more 
than usual. Climbing to her room, she sat down with- 
out removing her bonnet, and leaning her head upon her 



272 RUTH HALL. 

hand, tried to look hopefully into the fiiture. She was 
soon disturbed by Nettie, who exploring her mother's 
pockets, and finding the letter, exclaimed, pointing to the 
three cent stamp, " May I have this pretty picture, 
mamma 1" 

Ruth drew forth the letter, opened the envelope, cut 
out the stamp for Nettie, who soon suspended it around 
her doll's neck for a medal, and then read the epistle, 
which ran as follows : 

" To, ' Floy ' : 

" Madam, — ^I have long wished to communicate with 
you, long wished to know who you are. Since the ap- 
pearance of your first article, I have watched your course 
with deep interest, and have witnessed your success with 
the most unfeigned pleasure. My reasons for wishing to 
make your acquaintance at this particular juncture, 
are partly business and partly friendly reasons. As 
you will see by a copy of the Household Messenger, 
which I herewith send you, I am its Editor. I know 
something about the prices paid contributors for the 
periodical press, and have often wondered whether you 
were receiving anything like such a remuneration as 
your genius and practical newspaperial talent entitle you 
to. I have also often wished to write you on the subject, 
and tell you what I think is your market-value — to speak 
in business phrase — as a writer ; so that in case you are 



EUTH HALL. 273 

not receiving a just compensation, as things go, you might 
know it, and act accordingly. In meditating upon the 
subject, it has occurred to me that I might benefit you 
and myself at the same time, and in a perfectly legiti- 
mate manner, by engaging you to write solely for my 
paper. I have made a calculation as to what I can afford 
to give you, or rather what I will give you, for writing 
one article a week for me, the article to be on any sub- 
ject, and of any length you please. Such an arrange- 
ment would of course give you time to take more pains 
with your writing, and also afford you such leisure for 
relaxation, as every writer needs. 

" Now what I wish you to do is this : I want you first 
to inform me what you get for writing for The Standard, 
and The Pilgrim, and if I find that I can afford to give 
you more, I will make you an offer. If I cannot give 
you more, I will not trouble you further on that sub- 
ject; as I seek your benefit more than my own. In 
case you should accept any offer which I should find it 
proper to make, it would be necessary for you to tell me 
your real name ; as I should wish for a written contract, 
in order to prevent any possibility of a misunderstand- 
ing. 

" In conclusion, I beg that you will permit me to say, 

that whether or not arrangements are made for you to 

write for me, I shall be most happy to serve you in any 

way in my power. I have some experience in literary 

13* 



274 RUTH HALL. 

matters, which I will gladly place at your disposal. In 
short, madam, I feel a warm, brotherly interest in your 
welfare, as well as a high admiration for your genius, and 
it will afford me much pleasure to aid you, whenever my 
services can be made profitable. 

" Very truly yours, John Walter." 

Euth sat with the letter in her hand. The time had 
been when not a doubt would have arisen in her mind as 
to the sincerity of the writer ; but, alas ! adversity is so 
rough a teacher ! ever laying the cold finger of caution on 
the warm heart of trust ! Ruth sighed, and tossed the 
letter on the table, half ashamed of herself for her cow- 
ardice, and wishing that she could have faith in the 
writer. Then she picked up the letter again. She ex- 
amined the hand-writing ; it was bold and manly. She 
thought it would be treating it too shabbUy to throw it 
aside among the love-sick trash she was in the habit of 
receiving. She would read it again. The tone was re- 
spectful ; that won her. The " Household Messenger " — 
" John Walter ?" — she certainly had heard those names 
before. The letter stated that a copy of the paper had 
been sent her, but she had not yet received it. She recol- 
lected now that she had seen the " Household Messen- 
ger " among the exchanges at " The Standard " office, and 
remembered that she always liked its appearance, and 
admired its editorials ; they were fearless and honest, and 



RUTH HALL. 275 

always on the side of the -weak, and on the side of truth. 
Ruth also had an indistinct remembrance of having heard 
Mr. Walter spoken of by somebody, at some time, as a 
most energetic young man, who had wrung success from 
an unwilling world, and fought his way, single-handed, 
from obscurity to an honorable position in society, 
against, what would have been to many, overwhelming 
odds. " Hence the reason,'' thought Ruth, " his heart so 
readily vibrates to the chord of sorrow which I have 
struck. His experienced heart has detected in my writ- 
ings the flutterings and desolation of his own." Ruth 
wanted to believe in Mr. Walter. She glanced at his letter 
again with increased interest and attention. It seemed 
so frank and kind ; but then it was bold and exacting, too. 
The writer wished to know how much she received from the 
" Pilgrim," and " Standard," and what was her real name. 
Would it be prudent to entrust so much to an entire 
stranger 1 and the very first time he asked, too 1 Even 
granting he was actuated by the best of motives, would 
he not think if she told him all, without requiring some 
further guaranty on his part, that her confidence was too 
easily won ? Would he not think her too indiscreet to 
be entrusted with his confidence ? Would he not be apt 
to believe that she had not even sufficient discretion on 
which to base a business arrangement ? And then, if his 
letter had been dictated by idle curiosity only, how un- 
fortunate su yh an expose of her affairs might be. No-^ 



276 RUTH HALL. 

she— could— not — do— it ! But then, if Mr. Walter were 
honest, if he really felt such a brotherly interest .in her, 
how sweet it would he to have him for a brother ; a — 
real, warm-hearted^ brotherly brother, such as she had 
never known. Euth took up her pen to write to Mr. 
Walter, \)ut as quickly laid it down. " Oh — ^I — cannot !" 
she said; "no, not to a stranger!" Then, again she 
seized her pen, and with a quick flush, and a warm tear, 
said, half pettishly, half mournfully, " Away with these 
ungenerous doubts ! Am I never again to put feith in 
human nature ?" 

Euth answered Mr. Walter's letter. She answered it 
frankly and unreservedly. She stated what wages she 
was then receiving. She told him her name. As she 
went on, she felt a peace to which she had long been a 
stranger. She often paused to wipe the tears — tears of 
happiness — ^from her eyes. It was so. sweet to believe in 
somebody once more. She wrote a long letter — a sweet, 
sisterly letter — pouring out her long pent-up feelings, as 
though Mr. Walter had indeed been her brother, who, 
having been away ever since before Harry's death, had 
just returned, and, consequently, had known nothing 
about her cruel sufferings. After she had sealed and 
superscribed the letter, she became excessively frightened 
at what she had done, and thought she never could send 
it to Mr. Walter ; but another perusal of his letter re- 
assured her. She rose to go to the post-office, and then 



RUTH HALL. 277 

became conscious that she had not removed her bonnet 
and shawl, but had sat all this -while in walking cos- 
tume ! " Well," said she, laughing, " this is rather blue- 
stocking-y ; however, it is all the better, as I am now 
ready for my walk." Euth carried her letter to the 
post-office ; dropping it into the letter-box with more 
hopeful feelings than Noah probably experienced when he 
sent forth the dove from the ark for the third time. 



CHAPTER LXIX. 

11 /j xi iV ALTER sat in his office, looking over the 
-^ n>,v Tillijt mail. " I wonder is this from ' Floy ' ]" 
he said, as he examined a compact little package. " It 
bears the right post-mark, and the handwriting is a lady's. 
A splendid hand it is, too. There 's character in that 
hand ; I hope 'tis Tlry's.' " 

Mr. Walter broke the seal, and glancing at a few sen- 
tences, turned to the e/gnature. " Yes, it is ' Floy' ! 
now for a reyelation." He then commenced perusing 
the letter with the most intense interest. After reading 
the first page his eye began to fltjsJt, and his lip to quiver. 
" Poor girl — ^poor girl — heartless creatures — ^too bad — 
too bad," and other exclamations rrther too warm for 
publication ; finishing the letter and rcfidding it, he paced 
the room with a short, quick step, indicative of deep 
interest, and determined purpose. " It is too bad," he 
exclaimed ; " shameful ! the whole of it ; and how hard 



EUTH HALL. 279 

she has worked ! and what a pitiful sum those fellows 
pay her ! it is contemptible. She has about made The 
Standard ; it never was heard of to any extent before she 
commenced writing for it. It is perfectly outrageous ; she 
shall not write for them another day, if I can help it ! I 
will make har an offer at once. She will accept it ; and 
then those Jews will be brought to their senses. Ha ! ha I 
I know them ! They will want to get her back ; they will 
write to me about it, or at least Lescom will. That will 
give me a chance at him ; and if I don't tell him a few 
truths in plain English, my name is not John "Walter." 
Then seating himself at his desk, Mr. Walter wrote the 
following letter to ' Floy' : 

" Dear Sister Ruth, — If you will permit me to be so 
brotherly. I have received, read, and digested your let- 
ter ; how it has affected me I will not now tell you. I 
wish to say, however, that on reading that portion of it 
which relates to the compensation you are now receiving, 
my indignation exhausted the dictionary ! Why, you 
poor, dear little genius ! what you write for those two 
papers is worth, to the proprietors, ten times what they 
pay you. But I will not bore you with compliments ; I 
wish to engage you to write for the Household Messen- 
ger, and here is my offer : you to write one article a 
week, length, matter and manner, to your own fancy ; I 
to pay you , the engagement to continue one year, 



280 



RUTH HALl. 



during which time you are not to write ft > /.; ; U.OT 
periodical, without my consent. My reason for placing a 
limitation to our engagement is, that you may be able to 
take advantage at that time of better offers, which you 
will undoubtedly have. 

" I enclose duplicates, of a contract, which, if the terms 
suit, you will please sign and return one copy by the next 
mail ; the other copy you will keep. Unless you accept 
my offer by return of mail it 'will be withdrawn. You 
may think this exacting ; I will explain it in my next to 
your satisfaction. Most truly your friend, 

" John Walteb." 

This letter being despatched, thanks to the post-office 
department, arrived promptly at its destination the next 
morning. 

Buth sat with Mr. Walter's letter in her hand, think- 
ing. " ' If you do not accept my offer by return of mail, 
it will be withdrawn.' How exacting ! ' the explanation of 
this to be given in my next letter,' ah, Mr. John Walter, 
I shall not have to wait till then," soliloquized Kuth ; " I 
can jump at your reason ; you think I shall mention it to 
Mr. Lescom, and that then he will interfere, and offer 
something by way of an equivalent to tempt me to reject 
it ; that 's it, Mr. John Walter ! This bumping round the 
world has at least sharpened my wits !" and Ruth sat 
beating a tattoo with the toe of her slipper on the carpet. 



RUTH HALL. 281 

and looking very profound and wise. Then she took up 
the contract and examined it ; it was brief, plain and 
easily understood, even by a woman, as the men say. 
" It is a good offer," said Ruth, " he is in earnest, so am 
I ; it 's a bargain." Ruth signed the document. 



CHAPTER LXX. 



" rtOOD afternoon, 'Floy,' " said Mr. Lescom to Euth, 
as she entered the Standard office, the day after she 
had signed the contract with Mr. Walter. " I was just 
thinking of you, and wishing for an opportunity to have a 
little private chat. Your articles are not as long as they 
used to he ; you must be more liberal." 

" I was not aware,'' replied Euth, " that my articles had 
grown any shorjier. However, with me, an article is an 
article, some of my shorter pieces being the most valuable 
I have written. If you would like more matter, Mr. Les- 
com, I wonder you have not oflfered me more pay." 

" There it is," said Mr. Lescom, smiling ; " women are 
never satisfied. The more they get, the more grasping 
they become. I have always paid you more than you 
could get anywhere else." 

" Perhaps so," replied Euth. " I believe I have never 
troubled you with complaints ; but I have looked at my 



RUTH HALL. 283 

children someti'mes, and thought that I must try somehow 
to get more ; and I have sometimes thought that if my 
articles, as you have told me, were constantly bringing 
you new subscribers, friendship, if not justice, would in- 
duce you to raise my salary." 

" Friendship has nothing to do with business," replied 
Mr. Lescom ; " a bargain is a bargain. The law of sup- 
ply and demand regulates prices in all cases. In litera- 
ture, at present, the supply greatly exceeds the demand, 
consequently the prices are low. Of course, I have to 
regulate my arrangements according to my own interests, 
and not according to the interests of others. You, of 
course, must regulate your arrangements according to 
your interests ; and if anybody else will give you more 
than I do, you are at liberty to take it. As I said before, 
business is one thing — -friendship ■ is another. Each is 
good in its way, but they are quite distinct." 

As Mr. Lescom finished this business-like and logical 
speech, he looked smilingly at Euth, with an air which 
might be called one of tyrannical benevolence ; as if he 
would say, " Well, now, I 'd like to know what you can 
find to say to that ?" 

" I am glad," replied Euth, " that you think so, for I have 
already acted in accordance with your sentiments. I have 
had, and accepted, an offer of a better salary than you 
pay me. My object in calling, this afternoon was to in- 



284 RUTH HALL. 

form you of this ; and to say, that I shall not be able to 
•write any more for ' The Standard.' " 

Mr. Lesoom looked astonished, and gazed at Ruth 
without speaking, probably because ho did not know ex- 
actly what to say. He had argued Ruth's case so well, 
while he supposed he was arguing his own, that nothing 
more could be sai3. Mr. Lescom, in reality, valued Ruth's 
services more than those of all his other contributors 
combined, and the loss of them was a bitter thing to him. 
And then, what would his subscribers say ? The- reason 
of Ruth's leaving m.ight become known; it would not 
sound well to have it said that she quit writing for him 
because he did not, or could not, or would no£ pay her as 
much as others. Just then it occurred to him that en- 
gaging to write for another journal, did not necessarily 
preclude the possibility of her continuing to write for 
" The Standard." Catching eagerly at the idea, he said : 

" Well, ' Floy,' I am really glad that you have been so 
fortunate. Of course I wish you to make as much as you 
can, and should be glad, did my circumstances admit, to 
give you a salary equal to what you can command else- 
where ; but as I cannot give you more than I have been 
paying, I am glad somebody else will. Still, I see no 
reason why you should stop writing for ' The Standard.' 
Your articles will just be as valuable to me, as though 
you had made no new engagement.'' 

" I am sorry to disappoint you, Mr. Lescom," replied 



B TT T H H A -L X . 285 

Euth, •" but I cannot meet your wishes in this respect, as 
the contract I have signed will not permit me to write for 
any paper but ' The Household Messenger.' " 

At this announcement Mr. Lescom's veil of good na- 
ture was rent in twain. " ' The Household Messenger !' 
Ah ! it 's John Walter, then, who has found you out ? 
I don't wish to boast, but I must say, that I think you 
have made but a poor exchange. The whole thing is 
very unfortunate for you. I was just making arrange- 
m^ents to club with two other editors, and to offer you a 
handsome yearly salary for writing exclusively for our 
three papers ; but of course that arrangement is all 
knocked- in the head now. It seems to me that you 
might have, made an exception in favor of ' The Standard.' 
I have no doubt that Mr. Walter would have consented 
to let you write for it, as it was the first paper for which 
you ever wrote. He would probably do so now if you 
would ask him. He is an editor, and would understand 
the matter at once. He would see that I had more than 
ordinary claims upon you. What do you say to writing 
him on the subject ?" 

" I have no objection to doing so," replied Euth, " if 
you think it will avail anything, though if I succeed in 
getting "Mr. Walter's permission to write for you, I sup- 
pose Mr. Tibbetts, of The Pilgrim, will wish me to do 
the same for him, when he returns. I called at the Pil- 
grim office this mornmg, and his partner, Mr. Elder, said 



386 RtJTH HALL. 

that he was out of town, and would not be home for sev- 
eral days, and that he would be greatly incensed when he 
heard I was going to leave, as I was getting very popular 
with his subscribers. Mr. Elder was very sorry himself, 
but he treated me courteously. By the way, Mr. Les- 
com, I think you had better write to Mr. Walter, as well 
as myself; you understand such matters, and can proba- 
bly write more to the point than I can.'' 

" Very well," said Mr. Lescom, "I will write to Km. 
at once, and you had better write now by the same mail, 
and have the letters both enclosed in one envelope." 

Ruth took a seat at the editorial table, and wrote to 
Mr. Walter. The letters were sent at once to the Post- 
oiRce, so as to catch the afternoon mail, and Ruth took 
her leave, promising to call on the morning of the second 
day after, to see Mr. Walter's reply, which, judging by 
his usual promptness, would arrive by that time. 



CHAPTER LXXI. 

"AH! another letter from ' Floy,' " said Mr. Walter, 
as he seated himself ia his office ; " now I shall 
hear how Lescom and Tibbetts & Co., feel about losing 
her. ' Floy ' had probably told them by the time she 
wrote, and they have probably told her that she owes her 
reputation to them, called her ungrateful, and all that 
sort of thing ; let us see what she says." 

~ After reading ' Floy's ' letter, Mr. Walter laid it down 
and began muttering out his thoughts after his usual 
fashion. " Just as I expected ; Lescom has worked on 
' Floy's ' kind heart till she really feels a sort of necessity 
not to leave him so abruptly, and requests me as a per- 
sonal favor to grant his request, at least for a time ; no, 
no, ' Floy ' — ^not unless he will pay you five times as much 
as he pays you now, and allow you, besides, to write 
much, or little, as you please; but where is Lesoom's 



288 



KUTH HALL. 



communication 1 Buth says he wrote by the same mail — 
ah, here it is : 

" Mh. Walter : 

Sir, — Mrs. Hall, ' Floy,' informs me that you have en- 
gaged her to write exclusively for the Household Mes- 
senger, and that you will not consent to her writing for 
any other publication. Perhaps you are not aware that 
/ was the first to introduce ' Floy ' to the public, and that I 
have made her reputation what it is. This being the 
case, you will not think it strange that I feel as if I had 
some claim on her, so long as I pay her as much as she 
can get elsewhere. I need not say to you that The 
Standard is in a very flourishing condition ; its circula- 
tion having nearly doubled during the past year, and 
that my resources are such as to enable me to outbid all 
competitors for ' Floy's ' services, if I choose to take such 
a course ; but I trust you will at once perceive that the 
Standard should be made an exception to your contract, 
and permit ' Floy ' still to write for it. 

" Eespeotfully yours, F. Lescom." 

" Well, upon my word," exclaimed Mr. Walter, when 
he had finished Mr. Lescom's letter ; " if this is not the 
coolest piece of egotism and impudence that I ever saw; 
but it is no use wasting vitality about it. I will just an- 
swer the letter, and let things take their course ; I have 



PUTH HALL. 289 

the weather-gage of him now, and I '11 keep it ; he shall 
haTe my reply to digest the first thing in the morning ; 
I '11 write to ' Floy ' first, though." 

On the designated Thursday, Euth, according to her 
promise, called at the Standard office ; something had oc- 
curred to detain Mr. Lescom, so she sat down and opened 
Mr. Walter's letter, which lay on the taMe waiting for 
her, and read as follows : 

" Dear Euth : 

"I have just finished reading yours and Lescom's letters. 
Yours has touched me deeply. It was just like you, but 
you know little of the selfishness and humbuggery of some 
newspaper publishers ; ■ you seem really to think that you 
ought to write for Mr. Lescom, if he so much desires it. 
This is very good of you, and very amiable, but (forgive 
my want of gallantry) very foolish. You can now un- 
derstand, if you did not before, why I desired you to sign 
the contract by return mail. I was afraid if you went to 
Mr. Lescom, or Mr. Tibbetts of the Pilgrim, before sign- 
ing it, that they would impose upon your good womanly 
heart, and thereby gain an unfair advantage over you. I 
wished to surprise you into signing the contract, that I 
might have a fair and righteous advantage over them. 
And now, ' Floy,' please to leave the whole matter to me. 
I shall not consent to your writing for any paper, unless 
the proprietors will give you the full value of your arti- 
13 



290 RUTH HALL, 

cles — ^what they are really worth to them. If things 
turn out as I confidently expect they -will, from your pres- 
ent popularity, you will soon be in a state of comparative 
independence. On the next page you will find a copy of 
my answer to Mr. Lescom's letter. Please keep me in 
formed of the happenings at your end of the route. 

" Yours most truly, John Walter." 

Euth then read Mr. Walter's letter to Mr. Lesoom, as 
follows : 

"F. Lescom, Esq. 

" Sir, — ^Your letter in regard to ' Floy,' &c., is at 
hand. You say, that perhaps I am not aware that you 
were the first to introduce ' Floy' to the public, and 
that you have made her reputation. It is fortunate for 
you that she made The Standard the channel of her 
first communications to the public. I know this very 
well, but I am not aware, nor do I believe, that you have 
made her reputation ; neither do I think that you believe 
this yourself The truth is simply this; 'Floy' is a 
genius ; her writings, wherever published, would have at- 
tracted attention, and stamped the writer as a person of 
extraordinary talent ; hence her fame and success, the 
fruits of which you have principally reaped. As to 
' Floy's' being under any obligations to you, I repudiate 
the idea entirely ; the ' obligation' is all on the other 



RtJTH HALL. 291 

side. She has made ' The Standard,' instead of you 
making her reputation. Her genius has home its name 
to England, Scotland, Ireland, — ^wherever the English 
language is spoken, — and raised it from an ohseure 
provincial paper to a widely-known journal. You say 
that you are wealthy, and can pay as much as any- 
body for ' Floy's' services ; I wonder this has never oc- 
curred to you before, especially as she has informed 
you frequently how necessitous were her circumstances. 
You also inform me that the circulation of The 
Standard has nearly doubled the past year. This I 
can readily believe, since it is something more than a 
year since ' Floy' commenced writing for it. In reply 
to your declaration, ' that in case you are driven to com- 
pete for ' Floy's' services, you can outbid all competi- 
tors,' I have only to say that my contract with her is for 
one year ; on its expiration, ' Floy' will be at liberty to 
decide for herself; you wUl then have an opportunity to 
compete for her pen, and enjoy the privilege of exhibit- 
ing your enterprise and liberality. 

" Your ob't servant, John Walter." 

Ruth waited some time after reading these letters, for 
Mr. Lescom to come in ; but, finding he was still unex- 
pectedly detained, she took a handful of letters, which 
the clerk had just received by mail for her, and bent her 
steps homeward. 



CHAPTER LXXII. 

rriHE first letter Euth opened on her return, was a re- 
-*- quest from a Professor of some C!ollege for her auto- 
graph for himself and some friends ; the second, an offer 
of marriage from a Southerner, who confessed to one 
hundred negroes, " but hoped that the strength and ardor 
of the attachment with which the perusal of her articles 
had inspired him, would be deemed sufficient atonement 
for this in her Northern eyes. The frozen North," he said, 
"had no claim on such a nature as hers ; the sunny South, 
the land of magnolias and orange blossoms, the land of 
love, should be her chosen home. Would she not smile on 
him ? She should hare a box at the opera, a carriage, 
and servants in livery, and the whole heart and soul of 
Victor Le Pont." 

The next was more interesting. It was an offer to 
" Floy" from a publishing house, to collect her newspa- 
per article? into a volume. They offered to give her so 



RUTH HALL. :i93 

much on a copy, or $800 for the copyright. An answer 
was requested immediately. In the same mail came 
another letter of the same kind from a distant State, also 
offering to publish a volume of her articles. 

" Well, well," soliloquized Euth, " business is accumu- 
lating. I don't see but I shall have to make a book in 
spite of myself; and yet those articles were written under 
such disadvantages, would it be wise in me to publish so 
soon 1 But Katy 1 and $800 copyright money V Euth 
glanced round her miserable, dark room, and at the little 
stereotyped bowl of bread and milk that stood waiting 
on the table for her supper and Nettie's ; $800 copyright 
money ! it was a temptation ; but supposing her book 
should prove a hit 1 and bring double, treble, fourfold 
that sum, to go into her publisher's pockets instead of 
hers % how provoking ! Euth straightened up, and put- 
ting on a very resolute air, said, " No, gentlemen, I will 
not sell you my copyright ; these autograph letters, and all 
the other letters of friendship, love, and business, I am con- 
stantly receiving from strangers, are so many proofs that 
I have won the public ear. No, I will not sell my copy- 
right ; I will rather deny myself a while longer, and ac- 
cept the per-centage ;'' and so she sat down and wrote her 
publishers ; but then caution whispered, what if her book 
should not sell? "Oh, pshaw," said Euth, "it shall!" 
and she brought her little fist down on the table till the 
old stone inkstand seemed to rattle out " it shall /" 



294 EUTH HALL. 

" Ah, here is another letter, which I have overlooked," 
said Ruth. 

" To THE DISTINGUISHED AND POPULAR WEITBR, ' FlOy' : 

" Madam, — -I trust you -will excuse the liberty I take 
in writing you, when you get through with my letter. I 
am thus confident of your leniency, because it seems to 
me that my case is not only a plain, but an interesting 
one. To come to the point, without any circumlocutory 
delay, I am a young man with aspirations far above my 
station in life. This declaration is perfectly true in some 
senses, but not in every sense. My parents and my an- 
cestors are and were highly respectable people. My 
name, as you will see when you come to my signature, is 
Eeginald Danby. The Danby family. Madam, was 
founded by Sir Reginald Danby, who was knighted for 
certain gallant exploits on the field of Hastings, in the 
year 1066, by WUliam the Conqueror. Sir Eeginald 
afterward married a Saxon dame, named Edith, the 
daughter of a powerful land-owner ; hence the Danby 
family. All this is of very little consequence, and I only 
mention it in a sort of incidental way, to show you that 
my declaration in regard to the respectability of my 
family is true, and fortified by unimpeachable histori- 
cal evidence ; and I will here remark, that you will always 
find any assertion of mine as well sustained, by copious 
and irrefragable proof. 



RUTH HALL. 295 

" The respectability of our family being thus settled, 
I come hack to an explanation of what I mean by my 
' having aspirations above my station in life.' It is this : 
I am poor. My family, though once wealthy, is now im- 
poverished. The way this state of things came about, 
was substantially as follows : My grandfather, who was a 
strong-minded, thrifty gentleman, married into a poetical 
family. His wife was the most poetical member of said 
family ; much of her poetry is still extant ; it never was 
published, because in those days publishers were not as 
enterprising as they are now. We value these manu- 
aoripts very highly ; still I should be willing to send you 
some of them for perusal, in case you will return them 
and pay the postage both ways, my limited means not 
permitting me to share that pleasure with you. As I 
have intimated, my grandmother reveled in poetry. 
She doated on Shakspeare, and about three months be- 
fore my father's birth, she went to a theatre to witness 
the performance of ' The Midsummer Night's Dream.' 
She was enchanted ! and, with characteristic decision, re- 
solved to commit the entire play to memory. This reso- 
lution she executed with characteristic pertinacity, not- 
withstanding frequent and annoying interruptions, from 
various causes er «ly beyond her control. She finished 
committing tb> immortal poem to memory, the very 
night my fafhe was bom. Time rolled on ; my father, as 
he gre i hibited great flightiness of character, and 



296 KUTH HAIL. 

instability of purpose, the result, undoubtedly, of his 
mother's committing ' The Midsummer Night's Dream' 
to memory under the circumstances which I have de- 
tailed. My father, owing to this unfortunate develop- 
ment of character, proved inadequate to the management 
of his estate, or, indeed, of any business whatever, and 
hence our present pecuniary embarrassments. Before 
quitting this painful branch of my subject, it will doubt- 
less gratify you to have me state, that, inasmuch as my 
father married a woman of phlegmatic temperament, and 
entirely unpoetical mind, the balance of character has 
been happily restored to our family, so there is no fear 
for me. I am thus particular in my statements, because 
I have a high regard for truth, and for veracity, for ac- 
curacy in the minutest things ; a phase of character which 
may be accounted for from the fact, that I have just gone 
through a severe and protracted course of mathematics. 
These preliminaries being thus fairly before you, I now 
come to the immediate topic of my letter, viz. : I wish to 
go through College ; I have not the means. I wish you 
to help me. You are probably rich ; I hope you are with 
all my heart. You must be able to command a high 
salary, and a great deal of influence. I don't ask you to 
lend me the money out of hand. What I propose is 
this : I will furnish you the subject for a splendid and 
thrilling story, founded on facts in the history of our 
family; the Danby family. In this book, my grand- 



EUTH HALL. 297 

mother's poetry would probably read to advantage ; if so, 
it would be a gre^at saving, as her writings are volumi- 
nous. Your book would be sure to have a large sale, 
and the profits would pay my expenses at College, and 
perhaps leave a large surplus. This surplus should be 
yours, and I would also agree to pay back the sum used 
by me from my first earnings after graduation. I have 
thought over this matter a great deal, and the foregoing 
strikes me as the only way in which this thing can be 
done. If you can devise a better plan, I wiU of course 
gladly adopt it. I am not at all opinionated, but am al- 
ways glad to listen to anything reasonable. Please let 
me hear from you as soon as possible, and believe me 
truly your friend and admirer, 

"Ebginald Danbt." 
13* 



CHAPTER LXXIII. 

[E. TIBBETTS, the editor of « The Pilgrim," having 
returned from the country, Euth went to the Pil- 
grim office to get copies of several of her articles, which 
she had taken no pains to keep, nev«r dreaming of repub- 
lishing them in book form. 

Mr. Tibbetts was sitting at his editorial desk, looking 
over a pile of manuscript. Ruth made known her errand, 
and also the fact of her being about to publish her book. 
He handed her a chair, and drawing another in front 
of her, said very stiffly, " My partner, Mr. Elder, Mrs. 
Hall, has astonished me by the information that you have 
very suddenly decided to withdraw from us, who first 
patronized you, and to write for the ' Household Messen- 
ger.'" 

" Yes," replied Euth, " I considered it my duty to avail 
myself of that increase of salary. My circumstances 
have been exceedingly straitened. I have two little ones 



EDTH HALL. 399 

dependent on my exertions, and their future, as well as 
my own, to look to. You have often told me that you 
already paid me all you could afford, so it was useless to 
ask you for more ; beside, the contract I have accepted, 
obliged me to decline or accept it by return of mail, with- 
out communicating its contents." 

" Ah ! I see — ^I see," said Mr. Tibbetts, growing very 
red in the face, and pushing back his chair ; " it is always 
the way young writers treat those who have made their 
reputation." 

" Perhaps your making my reputation, may be a ques- 
tion open to debate," answered Ruth, stung by his tone ; 
" I feel this morning, however, disinclined to discuss the 
question ; so, if you please, we will waive it. You have 
always told me that you were constantly beset by the 
most talented contributors for patronage, so that of course 
you wiU not find it difficult to supply my place, when I 
leave you." 

" But you shall not leave," said Mr. Tibbetts, turning 
very pale about the mouth, and closing his lips firmly. 

" Shall not !" repeated Ruth, rising, and standing erect 
before him. " Shall not, Mr. Tibbetts 1 I have yet to 
learn that I am not free to go, if I choose." 

" Well, you are not," said Mr. Tibbetts ; " that is a 
little mistake of yours, as I will soon convince you. Dis- 
continue writing for ' The Pilgrim,' and I will immedi- 
ately get out a cheap edition of your articles, and spoil 



300 



RUTH HALL. 



the sale of your book ;" and he folded his arms, and faced 
Ruth as if he would say, " Now writhe if you like ; I have 
you." 

Ruth smiled derisively, then answered in a tone so low 
that it^ was scarcely audihle, " Mr. Tibbetts, you have 
mistaken your auditor. I am not to be frightened, or 
threatened, or insulted,^'' said she, turning toward the 
door. " Even had I not myself the spirit to defy you, as 
I now do, for I will never touch pen to paper again for 
' The Pilgrim,' you could not accomplish your threat ; for 
think you my publishers will tamely fold their arms, and 
see their rights infringed 1 No, sir, you have mistaken 
both them and me ;" and Ruth moved toward the door. 

" Stay !" exclaimed Mr. Tibbetts, placing his hand on 
the latch ; " when you see a paragraph in print that will 
sting your proud soul to the quick, know that John Tib- 
betts has more ways than one of humbling so imperious 
a dame." 

" That will be hardly consistent," replied Ruth, in the 
same calm tone, " with the thousand-and-one commend- 
atory notices of ' Floy ' — the boasts you have made of the 
almost exclusive right to the valuable services of so bright 
a literary star." 

" Of course you will not see such a paragraph in my 
paper," replied Mr. Tibbetts. " I am aware, most logical 
of women, that I stand committed before the public there ; 
but I have many an editorial friend, scattered over the 



HALL. 301 

country, who would loan me their columns for this pur 
pose." 

" As you please," said Ruth. " It were a manly act ; 
but your threat does not move me.'" 

" I '11 have my revenge !" exclaimed Tibhetts, as the 
last fold of Euth's dress fluttered out the door. 



CHAPTER LXXIV. 



rpHOSE of my readers who are well acquainted with 
journalism, know that some of our newspapers, nom- 
inally edited by the persons whose names appear as 
responsible in that Capacity, seldom, perhaps never contain 
an article from their pen, the whole paper being " made 
up " by some obscure individual, with more brains than 
pennies, whose brilliant paragraphs, metaphysical essays, 
and racy book reviews, are attributed (and tacitly fa- 
thered) by the comfortably-fed gentlemen who keep 
these, their factotums, in some garret, just one degree 
above starving point. In the city, where board is expen- 
sive, and single gentlemen are " taken in and done for," 
under many a sloping attic roof are born thoughts which 
should win for their originators fame and independence. 

Mr. Horace Gates, a gentlemanly, slender, scholar-like- 
looking person, held this nondescript, and unrecognized 
relation to the Irving Magazine; the nominal editor, 



RUTH HALL. 303 

Ruth's brother Hyacinth, furnishing but one article a 
week, to deduct from the immense amount of labor 
necessary to their weelily issue. 

" Heigho," said Mr. Gates, dashing down his pen ; 
" four columns yet to make up ; I am getting tired of this 
drudgery. My friend Seaten told me that he was dining 
at a restaurant the other day, when my employer, Mr. 
Hyacinth EUet, came in, and that a gentleman took oc- 
casion to say to Mr. E., how much he admired his arti- 
cle in the last Irving Magazine, on ' City Life.' His ar- 
ticle ! it took me one of the hottest days this season, in 
this furnace of a garret, with the beaded drops standing 
on my suffering forehead, to write that article, which, by 
the way, has been copied far and wide. His article ! and 
the best of the joke is (Seaten says) the cool way in 
which EUet thanked him, and pocketed all the credit of it ! 
But what 's this 1 here 's a note from the very gentleman 
himself : 

" Mr. Gates : 

•' Sir, — I have noticed that you have several times scis- 
sorized from the exchanges, articles over the signature of 
' Eloy,' and inserted them in our paper. It is my wish 
that all articles bearing that signature should be ex- 
cluded from our paper, and that no allusion be made to her, 
in any way or shape, in the columns of the Irving Maga- 
zine. As you are jn our business confidence, I may say, 



304 K U r H HALL. 

that the writer is a sister of mine, and that it would 
annoy and mortify me exceedingly to have the fact 
known ; and it is my express wish that you should not, 
hereafter, in any way, aid in circulating her articles. 

"Yours, dsc, Hyacinth Ellet." 

" What does that mean 1" said Gates ; " his sister ? 
why don't he want her to write 1 I have cut out every 
article of hers as fast as they appeared ; confounded good 
they are, too, and I call myself a judge ; they are better, 
at any rate, than half our paper is filled with. This is 
all very odd — it stimulates my curiosity amazingly — his 
sister 1 married or unmarried, maid, wife, or widow ? 
She can't he poor when he 's so well off; (gave $100 for 
a vase which struck his fancy yesterday, at Martini's.) 
I don't understand it. ' Annoy and mortify him exceed- 
ingly ;' what can he mean ? I must get at the bottom of 
that ; she is becoming very popular, at any rate ; her 
pieces are traveling all over the country — ^and here is 
one, to my mind, as good as anything he ever wrote. 
Ha ! ha ! perhaps that 's the very idea now — ^perhaps he 
wants to be the only genius in the family. Let him ! if 
he can ; if she don't win an enviable name, and in a very 
short time too, I shall be mistaken. I wish I knew some- 
thing about her. Hyacinth is a heartless dog — pays me 
principally in fine speeches ; and because I am not in a 
position just now to speak my mind about it I suppose 



RUTH HALL. 305 

he takes me for the pliant tool I appear, By Jupiter ! it 
makes my blood boD ; but let me get another and better 
offer, Mr. Ellet, and see ho-w long I will write ^.rticles for 
you to father, in this confounded hot garret. ' His sis- 
ter !' I will inquire into that. I '11 bet a box of cigars 
she -writes for daily bread — Heaven help her, if she does, 
poor thing ! — it 's hard enough, as I know, for a man to 
be jostled and snubbed round in printing-offices. Well, 
■well, it 's no use wondering, I must go to work ; what a 
pile of books here is to be reviewed ! wonder who 
reads all the books ] Here is Uncle Sam's Log House. 
Mr. Ellet writes me that I must simply announce the 
book without comment, for fear of offending southern 
subscribers. The word ' slave ' I know has been ta- 
booed in our columns this long while, for the same rea^ 
son. Here are poems by Lina Lintney — weak as diluted 
water, but the authoress once paid Mr. Ellet a compli- 
ment in a newspaper article, and here is her ' reward of 
merit,' (in a memorandum attached to the book, and just 
sent down by Mr. Ellet;) 'give this volume a first-rate 
notice.' Bah ! what 's the use of criticism when a man's 
opinion can be bought and sold that way ? it is an im- 
position on the public. There is ' The Barolds ' too ; I 
am to ' give that a capital notice,' because the authoress 
introduced Mr. Ellet into fashionable society -when a 
young man. The grammar in that book would give 
Lindley Murray convulsions, and the construction of the 



306 RUTH BALL. 

sentences drive Blair to a mad-house. Well, a great 
deal the dear puhlio know what a book is, hy the reviews 
of it in this paper. Heaven forgive me the lies I tell 
this way on compulsion. 

" The humbuggery of this establishment is only equalled 
by the guUability of the dear public. Once a month, 
now, I am ordered to puff every ' influential paper ia the 
Union,' to ward off attacks on the Irving Magazine, and 
the bait takes, too, by Jove. That little ' TearTable Tri- 
Mountain Mercury,' has not muttered or peeped about 
Hyacinth's ' toadyism when abroad,' since Mr. EUet gave 
me orders to praise ' the typographical and literary ex- 
cellence of that widely-circulated paper.' Then, there is 
the editor of ' The Bugbear,' a cut-and-thrust-bludgeon- 
pen-and-ink-desperado, who makes the mincing, aristo- 
cratic Hyacinth quake in his patent-leather boots. I have 
orders to toss him a sugar-plum occasionally, to keep his 
plebeian mouth shut ; something after the French maxim, 
' always to praise a person for what they are not ;' — ^for 
instance, ' our very gentlemanly neighbor and contempo- 
rary, the discriminating and refined editor of The Bug- 
bear, whose very readable and spicy paper,' &c., &c. 
Then, there is the religious press. Hyacinth, having ra- 
ther a damaged reputation, is anxious to enlist them on his 
side, particularly the editor of ' The Eeligious Platform.' 
I am to copy at least one of his editorials once a fort- 
night, or in some way call attention to his paper. Then, 



KUTH HALL. 307 



if Hyacinth chooses to puff actresses, and call Mine. ■ 



a ' splendid personation of womanhood,' and praise her 
equivocal -writings in his paper, which lies on many a 
family table to be read by innocent young girls, he 
knows the caustic pen of that religious editor will never 
be dipped in ink to reprove him. That is the way it is 
done. Mutual admiration-society — bah ! I wish / had 
a paper. Would n't I call things by their right natnes t 
Would I know any sex in books 1 Would I praise 
a book because a woman wrote it 1 Would I abuse it 
for the same reason ? Would I say, as one of our most 
able editors said not long since to his reviewer, 'cut 
it up root and branch ; what right have these women to 
set themselves up for authors, and reap literary laurels V 
Would 1 unfairly insert all the adverse notices of a book, 
and never copy one in its praise 1 Would I pass over 
the wholesale swindling of some aristocratic scoundrel, 
and trumpet in my police report, with heartless com- 
ments, the name of some poor, tempted, starving 
wretch, far less deserving of censure, in God's eye, than 
myself? Would I have my tongue or my pen tied in 
any way by policy, or interest, or clique-ism 1 No — sir ! 
The world never will see a paper till mine is started. 
Would I write long descriptions of the wardrobe of for- 
eign prima donnas, who bring their cracked voices, and 
reputations to our American market, and ' occupy suites 
of rooms ■ lined with satin, and damask, and velvet,' and 



308 EUTH HALL. 

goodness knows what, and give their reception-soirees, at 
which they ' affably notice ' our toadying first citizens ? 
By Jupiter ! why should rCt they be ' affable ' % Don't 
they come over here for our money and patronage? 

Who cares how many ' bracelets ' Signora had on, 

or whose ' arm she leaned gracefully upon,' or whether 
her ' hair was braided or curled ' ? If, because a lord or a 
duke once ' honored her ' by insulting her with infamous 
proposals, some few brainless Americans choose to deify 
her as a goddess^ in the name of George Washington and 
Common sense, let it not be taken as a national exponent. 
There are some few Americans left, who prefer ipecac in 
homoeopathic doses." 



CHAPTER LXXV 



" TTARK ! Nettie. Go to the door, dear," said Euth, 
■*-^ " some one knocked." 

" It is a strange gentleman, mamma," whispered Nettie, 
" and he wants to see you." 

Ruth bowed as the stranger entered. She could not 
recollect that she had ever seen him before, but he looked 
very knowing, and, what was very provoking, seemed to 
enjoy her embarrassment hugely. He regarded Nettie, 
too, with a very scrutinizing look, and seemed to devour 
everything with the first glance of his keen, searching eye. 
He even seemed to listen to the whir — whir — whir of 
the odd strange lodger in the garret overhead. 

" I don't recollect you," said Ruth, hesitating, and 
blushing slightly ; " you have the advantage of me, sir V 

" And yet you and I have been writing to each other, 
for a week or more," replied the gentleman, with a good- 
humored smile ; " you have even signed a contract, en- 
titling me to your pen-and-ink services." 



310 KUTH HALL, 

" Mr. Walter V said Euth, holding out her hand. 

" Yes," replied Mr. Walter, " I had business this way, 
and I could not come here without finding you out." 

" Oh, thank you," said Euth, " I was just wishing that 
I had some head wiser than mine, to help me decide on a 
business matter which came up two or three days ago. 
Somehow I don't feel the least reluctance to bore you 
with it, or a doubt that your advice will not be just the 
thing ; but I shall not stop to dissect the philosophy of 
that feeling, lest in grasping at the shadow, I should lose 
the substance,'' said she, smiling. 

While Euth was talking, Mr. Walter's keen eye 
glanced about the room, noting its general comfortless 
appearance, and the little bowl of bread and milk that 
stood waiting for their supper. Euth observed this, and 
blushed deeply. When she looked again at Mr. Walter, 
his eyes were glistening with tears. 

" Come here, my darling," said he to Nettie, trying to 
hide his emotion. 

" I don't know you," answered Nettie. 

" But you will, my dear, because I am your mamma's 
friend." 

" Are you Katy's friend?'' asked Nettie. 

" Katy r' repeated Mr. Walter. 

" Yes, my sister Katy ; she can't live here, because we 
don't have supper enough ; pretty soon mamma will earn 
more supper, wontt you mamma 1 Shan't you be glad 



RUTH HALL. 311 

when Katy comes home, and we all have enough to eat ?" 
said the child to Mr. Walter. 

Mr. Walter pressed his lips to the child's forehead 
with a low " Yes, my darling;" and then placed his watch 
chain and seals at her disposal, fearing Ruth might be 
painfully affected by her artless prattle. 

Ruth then produced the different publishers' offers she 
had received for her book, and handed them to Mr. 
Walter. 

" Well," said he, with a gratified smile, " I am not at 
all surprised ; but what are you going to reply f 

" Here is my answer," said Ruth, " i. e. provided 
your judgment endorses it. I am a novice in such mat- 
ters, you know, but I cannot help thinking, Mr. Walter, 
that my book will be a success. You will s»e that I have 
acted upon that impression, and refused to sell my copy- 
right." 

" You don't approve it ?" said she, looking a little con- 
fused, as Mr. Walter bent his keen eyes on her, without 
replying. 

" But I do though,'' said he ; "I was only thinking how 
excellent a substitute strong common-sense may be for 
experience. Your answer is briefj concise, sagacious, and 
business-like ; I endorse it unhesitatingly. It is just what 
I should have advised you to write. You are correct in 
thinking that your book will be popular, and wise in 
keeping the copyright in your own hands. In how in- 



312 RUTH HALL. 

credibly short a time you have gained a literary reputa- 
tion, Floy." 

"Yes," answered Ruth, smiling, "it is all like a 
dream to me ;'' and then the smile faded away, and she 
shuddered involuntarily as the recollection of all her 
struggles and sufferings came vividly up to her remem- 
brance. 

Swiftly the hours fled away as Mr. Walter, with a 
brother's freedom, questioned Ruth as to her past life and 
drew from her the details of her eventful history. 

" Thank God, the morning dawneth," said he in a sub- 
dued tone, as he pressed Ruth's hand, and bade her a 
parting good-night. 

Ruth closed the door upon Mr. Walter's retreating 
figure, and sat down to peruse the following letters, which 
had been sent her to Mr. Walter's care, at the Household 
Messenger office. 

" Mrs. or Miss ' Floy :' 

" Permit me to address you on a subject which lies 
near my heart, which is, in fact, a subject of pecuniary 
importance to the person now addressing you. My story 
is to me a painful one ; it would doubtless interest you ; 
were it written and published, it would be a thrilling 
tale. 

" Some months since I had a lover whom I adored, and 
who said he adored me. But as Shakspeare has said, 



R0TH HALL. 313 

' The course of true love never did run smooth ;' ours 
soon became an up-hill affair, my lover proved false, 
ceased his visits, and sat on the other side of the meeting- 
house. On my writing to him and desiring an explanar 
tion, he insultingly replied, that I was not what his fancy 
had painted me. Was that my fault ? false, fickle, un 
generous man ! But I was not thus to be deceived and 
shuffled off. No ; I employed the best counsel in the 
State and commenced an action for damages, determined 
to get some balm for my wounded feelings ; but owing 
to the premature death of ftiy principal witness, I lost 
the case and the costs were heavy. The excitement and 
worry of the trial brought on a fever, and I found my- 
self on my recovery, five hundred dollars in debt ; I in- 
tend to pay every cent of this, but how am I to pay it ? 
My salary for teaching school is small and it will take 
me many years. I want you, therefore, to assist me by 
writing out my story and giving me the book. I will 
fumi^ all the facts, and the story, written out by your 
magic pen, would be a certain success. A publisher in 
this city has agreed to publish it for me if you will write 
it. I could then triumph over the villain who so basely 
deceived me. 

" Please send me an early answer, as the publisher re- 
ferred to is in a great hurry. 

" Very respeetfiiUy yours, 

" Sarah Jarmesin.'' 
14 



314 BUTH HALI/. 

" Well," said Ruth, laughing, "my bump of invention 
will be entirely useless, if my kind friends keep on fur- 
nishing me -with subjects at this rate. Here is letter 
No. 2." 

"Dbab'Flot': 

" My dog Fido is dead. He was a splendid Newfound- 
land, black and shaggy ; father gave $10 for him when he 
was a pup. We all loved him dearly. He was a prime dog, 
could swim like a fish. The other morning we found him 
lying motionless on the door-step. Somebody had poisoned 
poor Fido. I cried all that day, and did n't play marbles 
for a whole week. He is buried in lie garden, and I want 
you to write an epithalamium about him. My brother 
John, who is looking over my shoulder, is laughing like 
everything ; he says 't is an epitaph, not an epithalamium 
that I want, just as if / did n't know what I want ? John is 
just home from college, and thinks he knows everything. 
It is my dog, and I '11 fix Ms tombstone just as I like. Fel- 
lows in round jackets are not always fools. Send it along 
quick, please, ' Floy' ; the stone-cutter is at work now. 
What a funny way they cut marble, don't they ? (with 
sand and water.) Johnny Weld and I go there every re- 
cess, to see how they get on with the tombstone. Don't 
etiok in any Latin or Greek, now, in your epithalamium. 
Our John cannot call for a glass of water without lugging 
hx one or the other of them ; I 'm sick as death of it. I 



BUTH HALL. 316 

wonder if I shall be such a fool when I go to college. You 
ought to be glad you are a woman, and don't have to go. 
Don't forget Fido, now. Eemember, he was six years old, 
black, shaggy, with a white spot on his forehead, and rather 
a short-ish tail — a prime dog, I tell you. 

BiLLT Sands." 

" It is a harrowing case, Billy," said Euth, " but I shall 
have to let Eido pass ; now for letter No. 3." 

" Dear Madam : 

" I address a stranger, and yet not a stranger, for I 
have read your heart in the pages of your books. In 
these I see sympathy for the poor, the sorrowing, and the 
dependent; I see a tender love for helpless childhood. 
Dear ' Floy,' I am an orphan, and that most wretched of 
all beings, a loving, but unloved wife. The hour so 
dreaded by all maternity draws near to me. It has been 
revealed to me in dreams that I shall not survive it. 
' Floy,' will you be a mother to my babe ? I cannot tell 
you why I put this trust in one whom I have only known 
through her writings, but something assures me it will be 
safe with you ; that you only can fill my place in the little 
heart that this moment is pulsating beneath my own. 
Oh, do not refuse me. There are none in the wide world 
to dispute the claim I would thus transfer to you. Its 
father — ^but of him I will not speak ; the wine-cup is my 



316 RUTH HALL. 

rival. Write me speedily. I shall die content if your 
arms receive my babe. 

" Yours affectionately, Mart Andrews." 

" Poor Mary ! that letter must be answered." said 
Euth, with a sigh ; — " ah, here is one more letter." 

" Miss, or Mrs., or Madam Floy : 

" I suppose by this time you have become so inflated 
that the honest truth would be rather unpalatable to you ; 
nevertheless, I am going to send you a few plain words. 
The rest of the world flatters you — ^I shall do no such 
thing. You have written tolerably, all things considered, 
but you violate all established rules of composition, and 
are as lawless and erratic as a comet. You may startle 
and dazzle, but you are fit only to throw people out of 
their orbits. Now and then, there 's a gleam of some- 
thing like reason in your writings, but for the most part 
they are unmitigated trash — false in sentiment — un- 
rhetorical in expression ; in short, were you my daughter, 
which I thank a good Providence you are not, I should 
box your ears, and keep you on a bread and water diet 
till you improved. That you can do better, if you will, 
I am very sure, and that is why I take the pains to find 
fault, and tell you what none of your fawning friends will. 

" You are not a genius — ^no, madam, not by many re- 
moves ; Shakspeare was a genius — Milton was a genius — 



EUTH HALL. 317 

the author of 'History of the Dark Ages,' which has 
reached its fifteenth edition, was a genius — (you may not 
know you have now the honor of being addressed by 
him ;) no, madam, you are not a genius, nor have I yet 
seen a just criticism of your writings ; they are all either 
over-praised, or over-abused ; you have a certain sort of 
talent, and that talent, I grant you, is peculiar ; but a 
genius — ^no, no, Mrs., or Miss, or Madam Floy — you don't 
approach genius, though I am not without a hope that, if 
you are not spoiled by mjudicious, sycophantic admirers, 
you may yet produce something creditable ; although I 
candidly confess, that it is my opinion, that the femak 
mind is incapable of producing anything which may be 
strictly termed literature. 

" Your honest friend, William Stearns. 

"Prof, of Greek, Hebrew, and Mathematics, in Hopetown 
College, and author of 'History of the Dark Ages.'" 

"Oh vanity! thy name is William Steams," said 
Kuth. 



CHAPTEE LXXVI. 

" TT AVE you ever submitted your head to a phrenolog- 
ical examination 1" asked Mr. Walter, as he made 
a call on Ruth, the next morning. 

" No," said Euth ; " I believe that much more is to be 
told by the expression of people's faces than by the 
bumps upon their heads." 

" And you a woman of sense !" replied Mr. Walter. 
" Will you have your head examined to please me ] I 
should like to know what Prof. Finman would say of you, 
before I leave town." 

" Well — yes — I don't mind going,'' said Euth, " pro- 
vided the Professor does not know his subject, and I see 
that there 's fair play," said she, laughing ; " but I warn 
you, beforehand, that I have not the slightest faith in the 
science." 

Ruth tied on her bonnet, and was soon demurely seated 
in the Professor's office, with her hair about her shoulders. 



R0TH HALL. 



319 



Mr. Walter sat at a table near, prepared to take notes in 
short-hand. 

" You have an unusually even head, madam," said the 
Professor. " Most of the faculties are fully developed. 
There are not necessarily any extremes in your character, 
and when you manifest them, they are more the result 
of circumstances than the natural tendency of the mind. 
You are of a family where there was more than ordinary 
unity in the connubial relations ; certainly in the mar- 
riage, if not in the after-life of your parents. 

"Your physiology indicates a predominance of the 
nervous temperament; this gives unusual activity of 
mind, and furnishes the capacity for a great amount of 
enjoyment or suffering. Few enjoy or suffer with such 
Intensity as you do. Your happiness or misery depends 
very much on surrounding influences and circumstances. 

" You have, next, a predominance of the vital tempera- 
ment, which gives great warmth and ardor to your mind, 
and enables you to enjoy physical comfort and the lux- 
uries of life in a high degree. Your musculat system is 
rather defective ; there not being enough to furnish real 
strength and stamina of constitution. Although you may 
live to be aged, you will not be able to put forth such 
vigorous efforts as you could do, were the motive or 
muscular temperament developed in a higher degree. 
You may think I am mistaken on this point, but I am not. 
You have an immense power of will, are energetic and 



320 RUTH HALL. 

forcible in overcoming obstacles, would display more 
than ordinary fortitude in going through trials and diffi- 
culties, and possess a tenacity of purpose and peraever-, 
ence in action, which enable you to do whatever you are 
determined upon doing ; but these are mental character- 
istics not physical, and your mind often tires out your 
body, and leaves you in a state of muscular prostration. 

" Your phrenology indicates an unusual degree of re- 
spect and regard for whatever you value as superior. 
You never trifle with superiority. I do not mean con- 
ventional superiority or bombastic assumption, but what 
you really believe to be good and noble. As a child, 
you were very obedient, unless your sense of justice 
(which is very strong) was violated. In such a case, it 
was somewhat difficult for you to yield either ready or 
implicit obedience. You are religiously disposed. You 
are also characterized by a strong belief in Divine influ- 
ences, providences, and special interpositions from on 
high. You are more than ordinarily spiritual in the tone 
of your mind. You see, or think you see, the hand of 
Proyidence in things as they transpire. You are also 
very conscientious, and this, combined with your firm- 
ness, which is quite strong, and supported by your faith 
in Providence, gives you a striking degree of what is 
called moral courage. When you believe you are right, 
there is no moving you ; and your friends probably 
think that you are sometimes very obstinate ; but let 



RUTH HALL. 



321 



them convince your intellect and satisfy your conscience, 
and you will be quite tractable, more especially as you 
are characterized by unusual sympathy and tenderness 
of feeling. You too easily catch the spirit of others, — of 
those you love and are interested in, and feel as they feel, 
and enjoy or suffer as they do. You have very strong 
hope with reference to immortality and future happiness. 
When a young girl, you were remarkably abounding 
in your spiritual anticipations of what you were going tc 
be as a woman. 

" You possess an extraordinary degree of perseverance, 
but have not a marked degree of prompt decision. After 
you have decided, you act energetically, and are more 
sure to finish what you commence, than you are ready to 
begin a new enterprise. You are decidedly cautious, 
anxious, mindful of results, and desire to avoid difficulty 
and danger. You take all necessary care, and provide 
well for the future. Your cautiousness is, in fact, too ac- 
tive. 

" You place a very high value on your character ; are 
particularly sensitive to reproach ; cannot tolerate scold- 
ing, or being found fault with. You can be quite re- 
served, dignified, and even haughty. You are usually 
kind and affable, but are capable of strong feelings of 
resentment. You make few enemies by your manner of 
speaking and acting. You are uniform in the manifesta- 
tion of your affections. You do not form attachments 
14* 



332 RUTH HALL. 

readily, or frequently ; on the contrary, you are quite 
particular in the choice of your friends, and are very de- 
voted to those to -whom you become attached. You 
manifested these same traits when a child, in the selection 
of playmates. 

" Your love is a mental love — a regard for the mind, 
rather than the person of the individual. You appreci- 
ate the masculine mind as such, rather than the physical 
form. You have a high regard for chivalry, manliness, 
and intellectuality in man, but you also demand good- 
ness, and religious devotion. It would give you pain to 
hear a friend speak lightly of what you consider sacred 
things ; and I hardly think you would ever love a man 
whom you knew to be irreligious. Your maternal feel- 
ings are very strong. You are much interested in chil- 
dren. You sympathize with and understand them per- 
fectly. You are, yourself, quite youthful in the tone of 
your mind ; much younger than many not half your age. 
This, taken in connection with your sympathy with, and 
appreciation of, the character of children, enables you to 
entertain them, and wia them to your wishes; but, 
at times, you are too anxious about their welfare. You 
are strongly attached to place, and are intensely patriotic. 
You believe in Plymouth Book and Bunker Hill. You 
are not content without a home of your own ; and yet, 
in a home of your own, you would not be happy with- 
out pleasant surroundings and associations, scenery, and 



KUTH HALL. 



323 



such things as would facilitate improvement and enjoy- 
ment. 

" You are very fond of poetry and beauty, wherever you 
see it, — of oratory, sculpture, painting, scenery, flowers, 
and beautiful sentiments. You must have everything 
nice ; you cannot tolerate anything coarse or gross. The 
world is hardly finished nice enough for you. You are 
too exacting in this respect. The fact is, you are made 
of finer clay than most of us. You are particular with 
reference to your food, and not easily suited. You must 
have that which is clean and nice, or none. Whatever 
you do, such as embroidery, drawing, painting, needle- 
work, or any artistic performance, is very nicely done. 
Your constructiveness is very large. You can plan well ; 
can lay out work for others to advantage ; can cut out 
things, and invent new and tasteful fashions. Your ap- 
preciation of colors is very nica; you can arrange and 
blend them harmoniously, in dress, in decoration of 
rooms, &c. You could make a slim wardrobe, and a 
small stock of furniture, go a great way, and get up a 
better looking parlor with a few hundred dollars, than 
some could with as many thousands. 

" You exhibit a predominance of the reflective intellect 
over the perceptive, and are characterized for thought, 
judgment, and the power to comprehend ideas, more than 
for your knowledge of things, facts, circumstances or con- 
ditions of things. You remember and understand what 



324 RUTH HALL. 

you read, better than what you see and hear ; still, you 
are more than ordhiarily observant. In passing aloi^ the 
street, you 'would see much more than people in general, 
and would be able to describe very accurately the style, 
execution and quality of whatever you saw. You have a 
pliable mind. You love acting, and would excel as an 
actress. You have great powers of sarcasm. You en- 
joy fun highly, but it must be of the right kind. You 
will tolerate nothing low. You are precise in the use of 
language, and are a good verbal eritic. You ought to be 
a good conversationist, and a forcible and spicy writer. 
In depicting character and describing scenes, you would; 
be apt to display many of the characteristics which Dick- 
ens exhibits. Your aptness in setting-forth, your keen 
sense of the ludicrous, your great powers of amplifica- 
tion, and the intensity of your feelings, would enable 
you to produce a finely wrought out, and exquisitely col- 
ored picture. You have also an active sense of music ; 
are almost passionately fond of that kind which is agree- 
able to you. 

" You have more than ordinary fortitude, but are lack- 
ing in the iafluences of eombativeness. Your temper 
comes to a crisis too soon ; you cannot keep angry long 
enough to scold. You dislike contention. You read the 
minds of others almost instantaneously; and at. once form 
a favorable or unfavorable impression of a person. You 
are secretive, amd disposed to conceal your feelings ; are 



BHTH HALl. 325 

anxious to avoid unnecessary exposure of your faults, and 
know how to appear to the best advantage. You have a 
good faculty of entertaining others, but can be with per- 
sons a long time without their becoming acquainted with 
you. 

" You dream things true ; truth comes to you in 
dreams, forewamings, admonitions, &e. 

" You are liable to be a very happy, or very unhappy, 
woman. The worst feature of your whole character, 
or tone of mind, arises from the influence of your edu- 
cation. Too much attention was paid to your mind, and 
not enough to your body. You were brought forward 
too early, and made a woman of too soon. Ideas too 
big for you were put into your mind, and it was not oc- 
cupied enough about the ordinary afRurs of life. This 
renders your mind too morbid and sensitive, and unfits 
you for encountering the disagreeable phases of life. You 
can endure disagreeable things with martyr-like firmness, 
but not with martyr-like resignation. They prey both 
on your mind and body, and wear heavily upon your 
spirit. You feel as though some one must go forward 
and clear the way for you to enjoy yourself; and if by 
any reverse of fortune, you have ever been thrown on 
your own resources, and forced to take care of yourself, 
you had to learn some lessons, which should have been 
taught you before you were sixteen years old. But in 
the general tone of your mind, in elevation of thought. 



326 



BUTH HALL. 



feeling, sympathy, sentiment, and religious devotion, you 
rank far above most of us, above many who are, per- 
haps, better prepared to discharge the ordinary duties of 
life. In conclusion, I will remark, that very much might 
be said with reference to the operations of your mind, 
for we seldom find the faculties so fully developed, or the 
powers so versatile as in your case." 

" Well," said Mr, "Walter, with a triumphant air, as 
they left the Professor's office, " well, ' Floy,' what do 
you think V 

" I think we have received our $2 worth in flattery," 
replied Euth, laughing. 

" There is not a whit of exaggeration in it," said Mr. 
Walter. " The Professor has hit you off to the life." 

" Well, I suppose it would be wasting breath to 
discuss the point with youj" said Euth, " so I will mere- 
ly remark that I was highly amused when he said I 
should make a good actress. I have so often been told 
that." 

" True ; Comedy woidd be your forte, though. How 
is it that when looking about for employment, you never 
contemplated the stage 1" 

" Well, you know, Mr. Walter, that we May-Flower 
descendents hold the theatre in abhorrence. For my- 
self, however, I can speak from observation, being de- 
termined not to take that doctrine on hearsay ; I have 



RUTH HALL. 327 

■witnessed many theatrical performances, and they only 
served to confirm my prejudices against the institution. 
I never should dream of such a means of support. Your 
Professor made one great mistake ; for instance," said 
Kuth, " he thinks my physique is feeble. Do you know 
that I can walk longer and faster than any six women in 
the United States ?" 

" Yes," replied Mr. Walter, " 1 know all about that ; I 
have known you, under a strong impetus, do six days' 
work in one, and I have known you after it prostrated 
with a nervous headache which defied every attempt at 
mitigation. He is right, Ruth, your mind often tires 
your body completely out. 

"Another thing, your Professor says I do not like to be 
found fault with ; now this is not quite true. I do not ob- 
ject, for instance, to fair criticism. I quarrel with no one 
who denies to my writings literary merit ; thfey have a 
right to hold such an opinion, a right to express it. But 
to have one's book reviewed on hearsay, by persons who 
never looked between the covers, or to have isolated para- 
graphs circulated, with words italicized, so that gross 
constructions might be forced upon the reader, which the 
author never could dream of; then to have paragraphs 
taken up in that state, credited to you, and commented 
upon by horrified moralists, — that is what I call unfair 
play, Mr. Walter. When my sense of justice is thus 



328 RUTH HALL. 

•wounded, I do feel keenly, and I have sometimes thought 
if such persons knew the suffering that such thoughtless- 
ness, to baptize it by the most charitable name, may 
cause a woman, who must either weep in silence over 
such injustice, or do violence to her womanly nature by a 
public contention for her rights, such outrages would be 
much less frequent. It seems to me," said she earnestly, 
" were I a man, it would be so sweet to use my powers 
to defend the defenceless. It would seem to me so im- 
possible to use that power to echo the faintest rumor 
adverse to a woman, or to keep cowardly silence in 
the shrugging, sneering, slanderer's presence, when a bold 
word of mine for the cause of right, might close his das- 
tard lips." 

" Bravo, Ruth, you speak like an oracle. Your senti- 
ments are excellent, but I hope you are not so unsophis- 
ticated as to expect ever to see them put in universal prac- 
tice. Editors are but men, and in the editorial profession, 
as in all other professions, may be found very shabby spe- 
cimens of humanity. A petty, mean-spirited fellow, is 
seldom improved by being made an editor of ; on the con- 
trary, his pettmess, and meanness, are generally intensified. 
It is a pity that such unscrupulous fellows should be able 
to bring discredit on so intelligent and honorable a class 
of the community. However," said Mr. Walter, " we 
all are more or less responsible, for if the better class of 
editors refrained from copying abusive paragraphs, their 



RUTH HALL. 329 

circulation would be confined to a kennel class whose 
opinion is a matter of very little consequence." 

" By the way, Euth," said Mr. Walter, after walking 
on in silence a few rods, " how is it, in these days of fe- 
male preachers, that you never contemplated the pulpit 
or lecture-room V 

" As for the lecture-room," replied Kuth, " I had as 
great a horror of that, as far as I myself am concerned, 
as the profession of an actress; but not long since I 
heard the eloquent Miss Lucy Stone one evening, when it 
really did appear to me that those Bloomers of hers had 
a mission ! Still, I never could put them on. And as to 
the pulpit, I have too much reverence for that to think of 
putting my profene foot in it. It is part of my creed that 
a congregation can no more repay a conscientious, God- 
fearing, devoted minister, than — " 

" You can help ' expressing your real sentiments,' " 
said Mr. Walter, laughing. 

" As you please," replied Euth ; " but people who live 
in glass houses should not throw stones. But here we 
are at home ; don't you hear the ' whir — ^whir' 1" 



CHAPTER LXXVII. 

A ND now our heroine had become a regular business 
woman. She did not even hear the whir — ^whir of 
the odd lodger in the attic. The little room was littered 
with newspapers, envelopes, letters opened and unopened, 
answered and waiting to be answered. One miinute 
she might be seen sitting, pen in hand, trying, with knit 
brows, to decipher some horrible cabalistic printer's 
mark on the margin of her proof; then writing an article 
for Mr. Walter, then scribbling a business letter to her 
publishers, stopping occasionally to administer a sedative 
to Nettie, in the shape of a timely quotation from Mother 
Goose, or to heal a fracture in a doll's leg or arm. Now 
she was washing a little soiled face, or smoothing little 
rumpled ringlets, replacing a missing shoe-strmg or pina- 
fore button, then wading through the streets while Boreas 
contested stoutly for her umbrella, with parcels and let- 
ters to the post-office, (for Euth must be her own ser- 
vant,) regardless of gutters or thermometers, regardless of 
jostling or crowding. What cared she for all these, when 



RUTH HALL. 331 

Katy would soon be back — poor little patient, suffering 
Katy 1 Euth felt as if wings were growing from her 
shoulders. She never was weary, or sleepy, or hungry. 
She had not the slightest idea, till long after, what an in- 
credible amount of labor she accomplished, or how her 
mother\s heart was goading her on. 

" Pressing business that Mis. Hall must have," said her 
landlady, with a sneer, as Euth stood her dripping um- 
brella in the kitchen sink. " Pressing business, running 
round to offices and the like of that, in such a storm as 
this. You would n't catch me doing it if I was a widder. 
I hope I 'd have more regard for appearances. I don't 
understand all this flying in and out, one minute up in 
her room, the next in the street, forty times a day, and 
letters by the wholesale. It will take me to inquire 
into it. It may be all right, hope it is ; but of course I 
like to know what is going on in my house. This Mis. 
Hall is so terrible close-mouthed, I don't like it. I 've 
thought a dozen times I 'd like to ask her right straight 
out who and what she is, and done with it ; but I have 
not forgotten that little matter about the pills, and when 
I see her, there 's something about her, she 's civil enough 
too, that seems to say, ' don't you cross that chalk-mark, 
Sally Waters.' I never had lodgers afore like her and 
that old Bond, up in the garret. They are as much alike 
as two peas. She goes scratch — scratch — scratch ; he 
goes whir — whir^whir. They haint spoke a word to 



332 KUTH HALL. 

one another since that child was sick. It 's enough to 
drive anybody mad, to have such a mystery in the house. 
I can't make head nor tail on't. John, now, he don't care 
a rush-light about it ; no more he would n't, if the top of 
the house was to blow off; but there 's nothing plagues ??ie 
like it, and yet I aint a bit curous nuther. Well, neither 
she nor Bond make me any trouble, there 's that in it ; if 
they did I would n't stand it. And as long as they both 
pay their bills so reg'lar, I shan't make a fuss ; I should 
like to know though what Mis. Hall is about all the time. 



Publication day came at last. There was the book. 
Euth's book ! Oh, how few of its readers, if it were fortu- 
nate enough to find readers, would know how much of her 
own heart's history was there laid bare. Yes, there was 
the book. She could recall the circumstances under which 
each separate article was written. Little shoeless feet 
were covered with the proceeds of this ; a little medicine, 
or a warmer shawl was bought with that. This was writ- 
ten, faint and fasting, late into the long night ; that com- 
posed while walking wearily to or from the offices where 
she was employed. One was written with little Nettie 
sleeping in her lap ; another still, a mirthful, merry piece, 
as an escape-valve for a wretched heartache. Each had its 
own little history. Each would serve, in after-days, for 



KUTH HALL. 333 

a land-mark to some thorny path of by-gone trouble. 
Oh, if the sun of prosperity, after all, should gild these 
rugged paths ! Some virtues — many faults — the book 
had — but God speed it, for little Katy's sake ! 

" Let me see, please," said little Nettie, attracted by 
the gilt covers, as she reached out her hand for the book. 

" Did you make those pretty pictures, mamma ?" 

" No, my dear — a gentleman, an artist, made those for 
me — / make pictures with a^b-c's." 

" Show me one of your pictures, mamma," said Nettie. 

Buth took the child upon her lap, and read her the story 
of Gertrude. Nettie listened with her clear eyes fixed 
upon her mother's face. 

" Don't make her die — oh, please don't make her die, 
- mamma," exclaimed the sensitive child, laying her little 
hand over her mother's mouth. 

Ruth smiled, and improvised a favorable termination 
to her story, more suitable to her tender-hearted audi- 
ence. 

" That is nice," said Nettie, kissing her mother ; " when 
I get to be a woman shall I write books, mamma ?" 

"God forbid," murmured Buth, kissing the child's 
changeful cheek ; " God forbid," murmured she, mus- 
ingly, as she turned over the leaves of her book ; " no 
happy woman ever writes. From Harry's grave sprang 
' Floy.' " 



CHAPTER LXXVIII. 



" TTOU have a noble place here," said a gentleman, to 
-*- Euth's brother, Hyacinth, as he seated himself on 
the piazza, and his eye lingered first upon the velvet lawn, 
(with its little clumps of trees) sloping down to the river, 
then upon the feathery wUlows now dipping their light 
green branches playfully into the water, then tossing them 
gleefully up to the sunlight ; " a noble place," said he, as 
he marked the hazy outline of the cliffs on the opposite 
side, and the blue river which laved their base, flecked 
with many a snowy sail ; " it were treason not to be 
poetical here ; I should catch the infection myself, matter- 
of-fact as I am." 

" Do you see that steamer yonder, floating down the 
river, Lewis i" said Hyacinth. "Do yon know herl 
No "i well she is named ' Floy,' after my sister, by one 
of her literary admirers." 

" The ■ ! your sister 1 ' Floy ' — ^your sister! why, 

everybody is going mad to know who she is." 



BUTH HALL. 335 

"Exactly," replied Hyacinth, running hia wMte fin- 
gers through his curls ; " ' Floy ' is my sister." 

"Why the deuce didn't you tell a fellow before? 
I have wasted more pens, ink, and breath, trying to 
find her out, than I can stop to teU you about now, and 
here you have kept as mum as a mouse all the time. 
What did you do it for?" 

" Oh, well," said Hyacinth, coloring a little, " ' Floy ' 
had an odd fancy for being incog., and I, being in her con- 
fidence, you know, was on honor to keep her secret." 

" But she still wishes it kept," said Lewis ; " so her 
publishers, whom I have vainly pumped, tell me. So, as 
far as that goes, I don't see why you could not have told 
me before just as well as now." 

Hyacinth very suddenly became aware of " an odd 
craft in the river," and was apparently intensely absorbed 
looking at it through his spy-glass. 

" Hyacinth ! I say. Hyacinth !" said the pertinacious 
Lewis, "I believe, after all, you are humbugging me. 
How can she be your sister? Here's a paragraph in 

Sentinel, saying — " and Lewis drew the paper 

from his pocket, unfolded it, and put on his glasses with 
distressing deliberation : " ' We understand that " Floy," 
the new literary star, was in very destitute circumstances 
when she first solicited the patronage of the public ; often 
wandering from one editorial ofiice to another in search 
of employment, while wanting the commonest necessaries 



336 HUTH HALL. 

of life,' There, now, how can that be if she is * your 
sister ' 1 and you an editor, too, always patronizing some 
new contributor with a flourish of trumpets? Pooh, 
man ! you are hoaxing ;" and Lewis jogged him again by 
the elbow. 

"Beg your pardon, my dear boy," said Hyacinth, 
blandly, " but 'pon my honor, I have n't heard a word 
you were saying, I was so intent upon making out that 
craft down the river. I 'm a little afraid of that fog com- 
ing up, Lewis ; suppose we join Mrs. Ellet iu the draw 
ing-room." 

" Odd — ^very odd," soliloquized Lewisi " I 'U try him 
again. — 

" Did you read the panegyric on ' Floy ' in ' The In- 
quisitor ' of this morning I" said Lewis. " That paper, 
you know, is decidedly the highest literary authority in 
the country. It pronounces ' Floy's ' book to be an ' un 
qu«stionable work of genius.' " 

"Yes," replied Hyacinth, "I saw it. It is a great 
thing, Lewis, for a young writer to be literarily con- 
nected;'''' and Hyadinth pulled up his shirt-coUar. 

"But I understood you just now that nobody knew 
she was your sister, when she first published the pieces 
that are now collected in that book," said Lewis, with his 
characteristic pertinacity. 

" There 's that craft again," said Hyacinth; " can't you 
make her out, Lewis ?" 



RUTH HALL. 337 

" No — ^by Jove," replied Lewis, sarcastically ; " I can't 
make anything out. I never was so be-fogged in my life ;" 
and he bent a penetrating glance on the masked face be- 
fore him. " It is past my finding out, at least just now ; 
but I 've a Yankee tongue in my head, so I .don't despair, 
■with time and perseverance ;" and Lewis followed Hya- 
cinth into the house. 

"Confounded disagreeable fellow," soliloquized Hyar 
cinth, as he handedvhim over to a knot of ladies in the 
drawing-room ; " very awkward that paragraph ; I wish I 
had the fellow who wrote it, at pistol-shot distance just 
now ; well, if I am badgered on the subject of ' Floy's ' 
poverty, I shall start a paragraph saying, that the story is 
only a publisher's trick to make her book sell ; by Jove, 
they don't comer me ; I have got out of worse scrapes 
than that before now, by the help of my wits and the 
lawyers, but L don't think a paper of any influence would 
attack me on that point ; I have taken care to secure all 
the more prominent ones, long ago, by judicious pufis of 
their editors in the Irving Magazine. The only one I 

fear is the , and I will lay an anchor to windward 

there this very week, by praising the editor's last stupid 

editorial. What an unmitigated donkey that fellow is." 

15 



CHAPTER LXXIX. 



" TTOW are you, Walter," said Mr. Lewis, extending 
•^■^ his hand; "fine day; how goes the world with 
you ■? They say you are a man who dares to ' hew to 
the line, let the chips fly in whose face they wiU.' Now, 
1 want you to tell me if ' Floy ' is really a sister of Hya^ 
cinth EUet, the editor of ' The Irving Magazine.' I can- 
not believe it, though he boasted of it to me the other 
day, I hear such accounts of her struggles and her 
poverty. I cannot see into it." 

" It is very easUy understood," said Mr. Walter, with 
a dark frown on his face; "Mr. Hyacinth EUet has 
always had one hobby, namely — social position. For 
that he would sacrifice the dearest friend or nearest rela- 
tive he had on earth. His sister was once in affluent cir- 
cumstances, beloved and admired by all who knew her. 
Hyacinth, at that time, was very friendly, of course ; her 
husband's wine and horses, and his name on change, were 



RUTH HALL. 339 

thing.«i which the extravagant Hyacinth knew how to ap- 
preciate. 

" Hall (' Floy's' husband) was a generous-hearted, impul- 
sive fellow, too noble himself to see' through the specious, 
flimsy veil which covered so corrupt a heart as Hy- 
acinth's. Had he been less trusting, less generous to 
him, ' Floy' might not have been left so destitute at his 
death. When that event occurred. Hyacinth's regard for 
his sister evaporated in a lachrymose obituary notice of 
Hall in the Irving Magazine. The very day after his 
death. Hyacinth married Julia Grey, or rather married 
her fortune. His sister, after seeking in vain to get em- 
ployment, driven to despair, at last resorted to her pen, 
and applied to Hyacinth, then the prosperous editor of 
the Irving Magazine, either to give her employment as a 
writer, or show her some way to obtain it. At that time 
Hyacinth was constantly boasting of the helping hand 
he had extended to young writers in their extremity, 
(whom, by the way, he paid in compliments after secur- 
ing their articles,) and whom, he was constantly asserting, 
had been raised by him from, obscurity to fame." 

" Well," said Lewis, bending eagerly forward ; " well, 
he helped his sister, of course ?" 

" He did no such thing, sir,'' said Mr. Walter, bringing 
his hand down on the table ; " he did no such thing, sir ; 
but he wrote her a cool, contemptuous, insulting letter, 
denying her all claim to talent, (she had sent him some 



340 RUTH HALL. 

specimen articles,) and advising her to seek some unob- 
trusive employment, (what employment he did not 
trouble himself to name,) and then ignored her existence ; 
and this, too, when he was squandering money on ' dis- 
tressed' actresses, etc." 

" Well 1" said Mr. Lewis, inquiringly. 

" Well, sir, she struggled on bravely and single-handed, 
with the skeleton Starvation standing by her hearth-stone 
— she who had never known a wish ungratified during 
her married life, whose husband's pride in her was only 
equalled by his love. She has sunk fainting to the floor 
with hunger, that her children might not go supperless 
to bed. And now, when the battle is fought and the vic- 
tory won, he comes in for a share of the spoils. It is 
' my sister " Floy," ' and 'tis his ' literary reputation which 
was the stepping-stone to her celebrity as a writer.' 

" To show you how much ' his reputation has helped 
her,' I will just state that, not long since, I was dining at 
a restaurant near two young men, who were discussing 
' Floy.' One says, ' Have you read her book V ' No,' 
said the other, with a sneer, ' nor do I want to ; it is 
enough for me that Hyacinth EUet claims her as a sis- 
ter ; that is enough to damn any woman.' Then," con- 
tinued Mr. Walter, " there was an English paper, the edi- 
tor of which, disgusted with Hyacinth's toadyisms, fop- 
peries, and impudence while abroad, took occasion to cut 
up her book (as he acknowledged) because the writer was 



RUTH HALL. 341 

said to be Ellet's sister. That is the way his reputation 
has helped her." 

" No wonder she is at sword's-point with him,'' re- 
marked Mr. Lewis. 

" She is not at sword's-point with him," replied Mr. 
Walter. " She simply chooses to retain the position her 
family assigned her when she was poor and obscure. 
They would not notice her then ; she will not accept 
their notice now." 

" Where was the old man, her father, all this time 7" 
said Mr. Lewis, "was he alive and in good circum- 
stances V 

" Certainly," said Mr. Walter ; " and once in awhile 
he threw her a dollar, just as one would throw a bone to 
a hungry dog, with a ' begone !' " 

" By Jove !" exclaimed Mr. Lewis, as he passed out, 
" what a heartless set." 



CHAPTER LXXX. 



T) UTH returned from her daily walk to the Post Office, 
■^'^ one morning, with a bundle of letters, among which 
was one from Mr. Walter. Its contents were as fol- 
lows : 



" Dear Sibter Euth : 

" I wonder if you are enjoying your triumph half as 
much as I ? But how should you, since you do not know 
of it ? Your publishers inform me that orders are pour- 
ing in for your book faster than they can supply them. 
What do you think of that ? ' Floy,' you have made a 
decided hit ; how lucky that you had the foresight to hold 
on to your copyright. $800 will not be a circumstance to 
the little fortune you are going to make. Your success 
is glorious ; but I don't believe you are half as proud of 
it as I am. * 

" And now, I know of what you are thinking as well 



RUTH HALL. 



343 



as if I were by your side. 'Tis of the little exile, 'tis of 
Katy. You would fly directly to bring her home. Can 
I be of any service to you in doing this 1 Business takes 
me your way day after to-morrow. Can you curb your 
impatience to see her till then 1 If so, I will accompany 
you. Please write me immediately. 

" Yours truly, John Walter." 

" P. S. — ^I send you a batch of letters, which came by 
this morning's mail, directed to 'Floy,' oflSce of the 
Household Messenger." 

Ruth tossed the " batch of letters" down unopened, 
and sprang to her feet ; she tossed up Nettie ; she kissed 
the astonished child till she was half strangled ; she 
laughed, she cried, and then she sat down with her fore- 
head in both her hands, for a prolonged reverie. 

What good news about the book ! , How could she 
wait two days before she brought back Katy ! And yet 
it would be a happy thing, that Mr. Walter, whose name 
was synonymous with good tidings, should be associated 
with her in the return of the child. Yes, she would wait. 
And when Katy was secured, what then? Why, she 
would leave forever a city fraught with such painful as- 
sociations ; she would make her a new home. Home ? 
Her heart leaped ! — comforts for Nettie and Katy, — clothes 
—food, — earned by her own hands ! — Tears trickled 



344 RUTH HALL. 

through Euth's fingers, and her heart went out in a mur- 
mured prayer to the " God of the widow and fatherless." 

" May I play house with these ?" said Nettie, touching 
Ruth's elbow, and pointing to the unopened letters. 

" No, little puss," said Ruth, " not yet. Wait a hit till 
I have glanced at them ;'' and she broke the seal of one. 

It was an offer of marriage from a widower. He had 
read an article of hers on " Step-Mothers," and was " very 
sure that a woman with such views could not fail to 
make a good mother for his children." He was thirty- 
five — good-looking, (every man who had written her a 
love-letter was !) good disposition — ^warm-hearted — ^would 
love her just as well as if he had never bent an adoring 
knee to Mrs. Dorrance No. 1 — was not at all set in his 
ways — in fact preferred she should, in everything, save 
him the trouble of choice ; would live in any part of the 
Union she desired, provided she would only consent to 
the union. These last two words Mr. Dorrance had itali- 
cised, as indicating, probably, that he considered it a pun 
fit even for the critical eye of an authoress. 

" Oh, pshaw !" said Ruth, throwing the letter to Nettie, 
" make anything you like of it, pussy ; it is of no value to 
me." The next letter ran as follows : 

" Madam : 

" I have the honor to be guardian to a young Southern 
lady (an orphan) of large fortune, who has just completed 



nUTH HALL. 345 

her education. She has taken a suite of apartments, and 
given me orders to furnish them without regard to ex- 
pense, according to her fancy. I have directions to pro- 
cure busts of Mrs. Hemans, Miss Landon, and several 
other distinguished female writers, among whom Miss Le 
Eoy includes ' Floy,' (I have not the pleasure, madam, of 
knowing your true name,) with whose writings she has be- 
come familiar, and who is as great a favorite with her as she 
is with the multitude who have paid tribute to her genius. 
" Please send me a line, (my address as below,) allow- 
ing me to inform my ward how her favorite wish can be 
best carried out. 

" Yours truly, Thomas Pbaece. 

Euth glanced around her little dark room and smiled. 
" I would rather, instead, that an artist would take a sketch 
of my room, now," said she ; " that little black stove, where 
I have so often tried in vain to thaw my frozen fingers — 
that rickety old bed — the old deal table, with its yellow 
bowl of milk — that home-made carpet — those time-worn 
chairs — and then you, my little bright fairy, in the fore- 
ground ;" and she pushed back the soft, glossy curls 
from Nettie's fair brow. 

" No, no," said Ruth, " better reserve the niche destined 
for ' Floy ' for some writer to whom ambition is not the 
hollow thing it is to me. 

15* 



346 RUTH HALL. 

" Well, what have we here ? Another letter 1" Euth 
broke the seal of letter No. 3, and read : 

" Dear Madam : 

" I am a poor devil, and worse editor ; nevertheless, I 
have started a paper. If you will but allow me to put 
your name on it as Assistant Editress, I am sure it will 
go like a locomotive. If, in addition to this little favor, 
you could also advance me the sum of one hundred dol- 
lars, it would be an immense relief to your admirer, 

" John K. Staples. 

" P. S. — Be sure you direct to John K. Staples, as 
there is another John Staples in this place, who is a great 
rascal. J. K. S." 

" Well !" exclaimed Euth, " I did not believe I should 
ever be astonished again, but then — I had not heard from 
Mr. Staples. But here is another letter. Let us see 
what the contents of No. 4 are." 

Letter No. 4 ran as follows : 

"Dear'Flot': 

" I am a better son, a better brother, a better husband, 
and a better father, than I was before I commenced read- 
ing your articles. May God bless you for the words you 
have spoken (though unintentionally) so directly to me. 



BUTH HALL. 24:1 

May you be rewarded by Him to -whom the secrets of 
all hearts are known. 

" Your grateful friend, M. J. D." 

" This will repay many a weary hour," said Euth, as 
her tears fell upon the page. 



CHAPTER LXXXI. 



rpHE rain had poured down without mitigation for 
-^ seven consecutive days ; the roads were in a very 
plaster-y state ; dissevered branches of trees lay scattered 
upon the ground ; tubs and hogsheads, which careful 
housewives had placed under dripping spouts, were full 
to overflowing ; the soaked hides of the cattle looked 
sleek as their owners' pomatum'd heads of a Sunday ; 
the old hen stood poised on one leg at the barn-door, till 
even her patience had given out ; the farmers had mended 
all the old hoe and rake handles, read the Almanac 
through and through, and worn all the newspapers and 
village topics threadbare, when the welcome sun at last 
broke through the clouds, and every little and big puddle 
in the road hastened joyfully to reflect his beams. 

Old Doctor Hall started down cellar for his " eleven 
o'clock mug of cider ;" to his dismay he found his slip- 
pered pedestals immersed in water, which had risen 
above the last step of the ceUar-stairs. 



RUTH BALL. 



349 



" A pretty piece of work this rain has made, Mis. 
Hall," said the doctor, stamping his wet feet and blowing 
his nose, as he returned from his visit to the lower re- 
gions ; " the water has overflowed the cellar, and got 
most up to those hams that you set such store by. You 'd 
better tell Bridget to clirnb over the heads of those bar- 
rels, and get the hams out before they are clean sp'iled." 

Before the last words had fairly left the doctor's mouth 
the old lady's cap-strings were seen flying towards the 
kitchen. 

" I shan't do it, for anybody," exclaimed the new help, 
as she placed her red arms a-kimbo. " I 'm not going to 
risk my neck going over those tittlish barrels in that 
dark cellar, for all the hams that was ever cured." 

" You can carry a lamp with you," suggested the old 
lady. 

" I shan't do it, I tell you," said the vixen ; " help is 
skerse out here in the country, and I can get a new place 
before sundown, if I like." 

" Katy !" screamed the old lady, with a shrill voice, 
« Katy !" 

Katy started from her comer and came out into the 
entry, in obedience to the summons. 

" Come here, Katy ; Bridget is as contrary as a mule, 
and won't go into the cellar to get those hams. I cannot 
go in after 'em, nor the doctor either, so you must go in 
and bring them out yourself. Climb up on those barrel 



350 RUTH HALL. 

heads, and then feel your way along to the further cor- 
ner ; go right down the cellar-stairs now, quick." 

" Oh, I cannot ! I dare not !" said Katy, trembling and 
shrinking back, as the old lady pushed her along toward 
the cellar-door. 

"I'm so afraid," said the child, peeping down the cel- 
lar-stairs, with distended eyes, '' oh, don't make me go 
down in that dark place, grandma." 

" Dark, pooh !" said the old lady ; " what are you 
afraid of? rats 1 There are not more than half-a-dozen 
in the whole cellar." 

" Can't Bridget go ?" asked Katy ; " oh, I 'm so 
afraid." 

" Bridget wonH, so there 's an end of that, and I 'm not 
going to lose a new girl I 've just got, for your obsti- 
nacy ; so go right down this minute, rats or no rats." 

" Oh, I can't ! if you kiU me I can't," said Katy, with 
white lips, and clinging to the side of the cellar door. 

" But I say you shall," said the old lady, undinching 
Katy's hands; "don't you belong to me, I'd like to 
know ? and can't I do with you as I like 1" 

" No !" said Ruth, receiving the fainting form of her 
frightened child ; " no !" 

" Doctor ! doctor !" said the old lady, trembling with 
rage ; " are you master in this house or not ?" 

" Yes — when you are out of it," growled the doctor ; 
" what 's to pay now ?" 



RITTH HALL. 351 

"Why, matter enough. Here's Euth," said the old 
lady, not noticing the doctor's taunt ; " Ruth interfering 
between me and Katy. If you will order her out of the 
house, I will be obliged to you. I 've put up with 
enough of this meddling, and it is the last time she shall 
cross this threshold." 

"You never spoke a truer word," said Ruth, "and 
my child shall cross it for the last time with me." 

" Humph !" said the doctor, " and you no better than 
a beggar ! The law says if the mother can't support her 
children, the grand-parents shall do it." 

" The mother can — ^the mother wiW," said Ruth. " I 
have already earned enough for their support." 

" Well, if you have, which I doubt, I hope you earned 
it honestly'' said the old lady. 

Ruth's heightened color was the only reply to this 
taunt. Tying her handkerchief over Katy's bare head, 
and wrapping the trembling child in a shawl she had pro- 
vided, she bore her to a carriage, where Mr. Walter and 
his brother-in-law, (Mr. Grey,) with little Nettie, awaited 
them ; the door was quickly closed, and the carriage 
whirled off. The two gentlemen alternately wiped their 
eyes, and looked out the window as Katy, trembling, cry- 
ing, and laughing, clung first to her mother, and then to 
little Nettie, casting anxious, frightened glances toward 
the prison she had left, as the carriage receded. 

Weeping seemed to be infectious. Ruth cried and 



352 



RUTH HALL. 



laughed, and Mr. Grey and Mr. Walter seemed both to 
have lost the power of speech. Little Nettie was the 
first to break the spell by offering to lend Katy her 
bonnet. 

"We will do better than that," said Euth, smiling 
through her tears ; " we will get one for Katy when we 
stop. See here, Katy ;" and Euth tossed a purse full 
of money into Katy's lap. " You know, mother said she 
would come for you as soon as she earned the money." 

" Yes, and I knew you would, mother ; but — ^it was so 
very — " and the child's lips began to quiver again. 

" She is so excited, poor thing," said Euth, drawing her 
to her bosom ; " don't tall^ about it now, Katy ; lean your 
head on me and take a nice nap ;" and the weary child 
nestled up to her mother, while Nettie put one finger on 
her lip, with a sagacious look at Mr. Walter, as much as 
to say, "/will keep still if you will." 

" She does not resemble you as much as Nettie does," 
said Mr. Grey to Euth, in a whisper. 

" She is like her father," said Euth ; the " resemblance 
is quite startling when she is sleeping; the same breadth 
of forehead, the same straight nose, and full lips. 

" Yes, it has often been a great solace to me," said 
Ruth, after a pause, " to sit at Katy's bedside, and aid 
memory by gazing at features which recalled so vividly 
tho loved and lost ;" and she kissed the little nestler. 



RUTH HALL. ^53 

"Nettie," said Mr. Walter, "is Euth 2d, in face, form 
and feature." 

" I wish the resemblance ended there," whispered 
Euth, with a sigh. " These rose-tinted dawns too often 
foreshadow the storm-cloud." 



CHAPTER LXXXII. 

A N hour after the conversation narrated in the last 
-^•^ chapter, the driver stopped at a fine-looking hotel. 

" This is the place, then, where you are going to stay 
for a few weeks, before you leave this part of the coun- 
try for ," said Mr. Walter ; " allow me to speak 

for a dinner for us all ; such a day as this does not dawn 
on us often in this world ;" and he glanced afiectionately 
at little Katy. 

The party was soon seated round a plentifully-fiir- 
nished table. Nettie stopped at every other mouthful to 
look into Katy's eyes, or to kiss her, while little Katy 
gazed about bewilderingly, and grasped her mother's 
hand tightly whenever her ear caught the sound of a 
strange voice or footstep. 

" Will you have some soup, little puss f said Mr. 
Walter, after they were seated at the table, pulling one 
of Nettie's long curls. 

" Ask my mother," replied the child, with a quizzical 
look ; "she's the soi«p-erintendent." 



BUTH HALL. 355 

Mr. Walter threw up his hands, and a "general shout 
followed this precocious sally. 

" Come, come," said Mr. Walter, when he had done 
laughing ; " you have begun too early, little puss ; come 
here and let me feel your head. I must take a phrenol- 
ogical look at you. Bless me ! what an affectionate little 
creature you must be," said he, passing his hand over her 
head ; " stick a pin there now, while I examine the rest of 
your bumps." 

" You must not stick a pin in my head," said Nettie ; 
" I don 't like that way of expressing an o-pin-ion." 

" No further examination is necessary," said the ex- 
tinguished Mr. Walter ; " I have done with you, Miss 
Nettie. What do you mean 1" whispered he to Ruth, 
" by having such a child as that 1 Are we goiiig to have 
another genius in the family 1" 

" I don't know about that," said Ruth, laughing ; " she 
often says such things when she gets excited and hilari- 
ous, but I never encourage it by notice, and you must 
not ; my physician told me not to teach her anything, 
and by all means not to let her see the inside of a school- 
room at present." 

" Well, well," said Mr. Walter, " Miss Nettie and I 
must have a tilt at punning some day. You had better 
engage, Ruth, to furnish the Knickerbocker with smart rep- 
artees for his 'Children's Table,' from your own fire- 
side." 



356 



KUTH HALL. 



" Prenes garde^^ whispered Ruth, " don't spoil her. 
Such a child needs careful training ; she is high-spirited, 
■warm-hearted, and sensitive ;" and Ruth sighed. 

" I interpret your thoughts," said Mr. Walter ; " hut 
we must have no hackward glances to-day. Those chil- 
dren will never suffer what you have suffered ; few women 
ever did. Ruth, for the thousandth time I tell you, you 
are a hrave woman !" 

" — Upon my word," said Mr. Walter, suddenly, 
hlushing and thrusting his hand in his pocket, " I have 
committed the sin so common to all nia^-kiud ; carried 
letters for you round in my pocket all this time, without 
delivering them : here they are. I never saw a woman 
have so many letters as you do, ' Floy ;' you 'U need a 
private secretary before long.'' 

Ruth hroke the seal of one, saying, '' You '11 excuse 
me a few moments," and read : 

"To 'Floy': 

" Dear Madam, — We have estahlished a very successful 
Infant School in our neighborhood, numbering about fifty 
pupils. Our first anniversary occurs next month. It is 
our intention to gather together the parents and chUdren, 
and have a sort of jubilee ; hymns will be sung, and short 
pieces spoken. We should be very much obliged to you 
if you would write us a little dialogue to be repeated by 
two little girls, of the age of six ; something sweet and 



RUTH HALL. 857 

simple, such as you know how to write. We make no 
apology for thus intruding on your time, because we 
know your heart is with the children. 

" Yours respectfully, John Dean. 

"Secretary of the Leftbow Infant School" 

" Patience, gentlemen, while I read No. 2," said Euth. 
No. 2 ran as follows : 

" Dear ' Floy' : 

" Old Guardy has sent me up to this academy. I hate 
academies. I hate Guardy's. I hate everything but 
snipe shooting and boating. Just now I am in a horrid 
fix. Every fellow in this academy has to write a com- 
position once a week. I cannot do it. I never could. 
My talents don't lie in that way. I don't know where 
they do lie. What I want of you is to write those com- 
positions for me. You can do it just as easy as water 
runs down hill. You could scratch one off while I am 
nibbing my pen. Old Phillips will think they are un- 
common smart for me ; but never mind, I shall keep 
dark, and you are such a good soul I know you can't re- 
fuse. My cigars have been out two whole days ; so you 
may know that I have no funds, else I would send you a 
present. 

" Yours truly, Hal. Hunnbwell." 

After glancing over this letter Ruth broke into a merry 



358 RUTH HALL. 

laugh, and saying, " This is too good to keep," read it 
aloud for the amusement of the company, who unani- 
mously voted Hal. Hunnewell a composition every -week, 
for his precocious impudence. 

" Come, now," said Mi-. Walter, as Euth took up No. 
3, " if you have another of the same sort, let us hear it, 
unless it be of a confidential nature." 

Euth looked over the letter a moment, and then read : 

« Dbar ' Floy' : 

" Mamma has read me some of your stories. I like 
them very much. You say you love little children. 
Don't you think we 've got a bran new baby ! It came 
last night when I was asleep in my trundle-bed. It is a 
little pink baby. Mamma says it will grow white by- 
and-bye. It has got such funny little fingers ; they look 
all wrinkled, just like our maid's when she has been at the 
wash-tub. Mother has to stay in bed with him to keep 
him warm, he 's such a little cold, shaky thing. He hasn't 
a bit of hair, and he scowls like everything, but I guess he '11 
be pretty by-and-bye. Anyhow I love him. I asked 
mother if I might not write and tell you about him, and 
she laughed and said, I don't know who ' Floy' is, nor 
where she lives ; but Uncle Jack (he gives me lots of 
candy and dolls) said that I must send it to ' Floy's' pub- 
lishers ! I don't know what a publisher is, and so I told 
Uncle Jack; and he laughed and said he would lose his 



RUTH HALL. 359 

guess if I did n't have something to do with them one of 
these days. I don't know what that meant either, and 
when I asked him, he said ' go away, Puss.' I think it 
is very nice to have an Uncle Jack at Christmas and 
New Year's, hut other times they only plague little chil- 
dren. I wish I could see you. How do you look 1 I 
guess you look like mamma ; mamma has got blue eyes, 
and soft brown hair, and her mouth looks very pleasant 
when she smiles. Mamma's voice is as sweet as a robin's, 
so papa says. Papa is a great big man, so big that no- 
body could ever hurt me, or mamma. Papa wants to 
see you too. Won't you write me a letter, a little letter 
all to myself ? I 've got a box made of rosewood, with a 
lock and key on it, where I 'd hide it from Uncle Jack, 
(that would tease him !) Uncle Jack wants to see you 
too, but I hope you never will let him, for he 's such a 
terrible tease, he 'd plague you dreadfully. I guess our 
baby would send his love to you if he only knew you. 
Please write me soon, and send it to Kitty Mills, care of 
Uncle Jack Mills, and please seal it up all tight, so he 
cannot peep into it. 

" P. S. — ^I want you to wi-ite a book of stories for little 
girls, and don't make them end bad, because it makes me 
cry ; nor put any ghosts in them, because it scares me ; 
or have any ' moral ' down at the bottom, because Uncle 
Jack always asks me if I skipped it. Write something 



360 RUTH HALL. 

funny, won't you ? I like funny things, and fairy stories. 
Oh, I like fairy stories so much ! Was n't it nice about 
the mice and the pumpkin, in Cinderella 1 Make them 
all end well, won't you ? 

" Your affectionate little Kitty." 

" I suppose you do not feel any curiosity to know what 
the papers say about your book,'' said Mr. Walter, as 
Ruth refolded her letters. " I have quite a stock of no- 
tices in my pocket, which I have saved up. You seem to 
have taken the public heart by storm. You could not de- 
sire better notices ; and the best of it is, they are spon 
taneous — ^neither begged nor in a measure demanded, b/ 
a personal call upon the editors.'' 

" What on earth do you mean ?" asked Ruth. 

" Look at ' the spirit of '76 ' flashing from her eyot, 
said Mr. Grey, laughing, as he pointed at Ruth. 

" I mean this," said Mr. Walter, " that not long since I 
expressed my surprise to an able critic and reviewer, that 
he could praise a certain book, which he must have known 
was entirely deficient in merit of any kind. His answer 
was : ' The authoress of that book made a call on me at 
my office, deprecated in the strongest terms any adverse 
criticism in the paper with which I am connected ; said 
that other papers would take their tone from mine, that it 
was her first book, and that her pen was her only means 



RCTH HALL. 361 

of support, &c., &0. What can a man do under such cir- 
cumstances V said my informant." 

" How could she f said Euth. " Of what ultimate ad- 
vantage could it be 1 It might have procured the sale of 
a few copies at first, but a book, like water, will find its 
level. But what astonishes me most of all is, that any 
able reviewer should be willing to risk his reputation as 
a critic by such promiscuous puffery. How are the peo- 
ple to know when he speaks his real sentiments? It 
strikes me," said Euth, laughing, " that such a critic 
should have some cabalistic mark by which the initiated 
may understand when he speaks truthfully. It is such 
a pity!" continued Euth thoughtfully; "it so neutral- 
izes criticism. It is such a pity, too, that an authoress 
could be found so devoid of self-respect as to do such a 
thing. It is such an injury to those women who would 
disdain so to fetter criticism ; who would launch their 
book like a gallant ship, prepared for adverse gales, 
not sneaking near the shore, or lowering their flag for fear 
of a stray shot." 

" Do you know, Ruth," said Mr. Walter, "when I hear 
you talk, I no longer wonder at Hyacinth's lack of inde- 
pendence and common sense; his share must, by some 
unaccountable mistake, have been given to you in ad- 
dition to your own. But where are the children ?" 

They looked around ; Katy and Nettie, taking advan- 
tage of this prolonged iiscussion, had slid from the table, 
16 



362 



B UTH n ALL , 



in company with a plate of nuts and raisins, and were 
holding an animated conversation in a further comer. 

" Why ! what a great, big mark on your arm, Katy," 
exclaimed Nettie ; " how did it come V 

" Hush !" replied Katy ; " grandma did it. She talked 
very bad about mamma to grandpa, and I started to go 
up into my little room, because, you know, I couldn't 
bear to hear it ; and she called to me, and said, ' Katy, 
what are you leaving the room for?' and you know, 
Nettie, mamma teaches us always to tell the truth, so 
I said, ' because I cannot bear to stay and hear you say 
what is not true about my mamma.' And then grandma 
threw down her knitting, seized me by the arm, and set 
me down, oh, so hard, on a chair ; and said, ' but you 
ihall hear it.' Then, oh, Nettie, I could not hear it, so I 
put my fingers in both ears ; and then she beat me, and 
left that place on my arm, and held both my hands while 
she made me listen." 

During this recital, Nettie's eyes glowed like living 
coals. When Katy concluded, she clenched her little 
fists, and said : 

" Katy, why did n't you strike her 1" 

Katy shook her head, and said in a low tone, " Oh, 
Nettie, she would have killed me ! When she got angry 
she looked just like that picture of Satan we saw once in 
the shop window." 

" Katy, I mwt do something to her," said Nettie, olos- 



RUTH HALL. 



363 



ing her teeth together, and planting her tiny foot firmly 
upon the floor ; " she sharCt talk so about mamma. Oh, 
if I was only a big woman !" 

" I suppose we must forgive her," said Katy thought 
fully. 

"/won't," said the impulsive little Nettie, " never — 
never — ^never." 

" Then you cannot say your prayers," said the wise 
little Katy -, " ' forgive us, as we forgive those who have 
trespassed against us.' " 

" What a pity !" exclaimed the orthodox Nettie ; 
" don't you wish that had n't been put in "i What shall 
we do, Katy?" 

" Nettie," said her mother, who had approached unno- 
ticed, " what did you mean when you said just now, that 
you wished you were a big woman V 

Nettie hung her head for a minute, and twisted the 
corner of her apron irresolutely ; at last she replied with 
a sudden effort, " you won't love me, mamma, but I wUl 
tell you ; I wanted to out grandma's head ofi"." 

Little Katy laughed outright, as the idea of this Lilli- 
putian combatant presented itself! Ruth looked serious. 
" That is not right, Nettie," said she ; " your grand- 
mother is an unhappy, miserable old woman. She has 
punished herself worse than anybody else could punish 
her. She is more miserable than ever now, because I 
have earned money to support you and Katy. She might 



364 



RUTH HALL. 



have made us all love her, and help to make her old age 
cheerful ; but now, unless she repents, she will live mis- 
erably, and die forsaken, for nobody can love her with 
such a temper. This is a dreadful old age, Nettie J" 

" I think I '11 forgive her," said Nettie, jumping into 
her mother's lap ; " but I hope I shan't ever hear her say 
anything against you, mother. I 'm glad I was n't Katy. 
Did n't you ever wish, Katy, that she might fall down 
stairs and break her neck, or catch a fever, or some- 
thing f 

" Oh, mother, what a funny girl Nettie is !" said Katy, 
laughing till the tears came ; " I had almost forgotten her 
queer ways ! Oh, how grandmother would have boxed 
your ears, Nettie !" 

The incorrigible Nettie cut one of her pirouettes across 
the room, and snapped her fingers by way of answer to 
this assertion. 

While Ruth and her children were conversing, the two 
gentlemen were quite as absorbed in another corner of 
the apartment. 

"It astonishes me," said Mr. Grey to Mr. Walter, 
" that ' Floy ' should be so little elated by her wonderful 
success." 

" It will cease to do so when you know her better," 
said Mr. Walter ; " the map of life has been spread out 
before her ; she has stood singing on its breezy heights — 



EUTH HALL. 365 

she has lain weeping in its gloomy valleys.- Flowers 
have strewn her pathway — and thorns have pierced her 
tender feet. The clusters of the promised land have 
moistened her laughing lip — the Dead Sea apple has 
mocked her wasted fingers. Eainbows have spanned 
her sky like a glory, and storms have beat pitilessly on 
her defenceless head. Eyes have beamed upon her smil- 
ing welcome. When wounded and smitten, she fainted 
by the way, the priest and the Levite have passed 
by on the other side. ' Floy ' knows every phase of 
the human heart; she knows that she was none the 
less worthy because poor and unrecognized ; she knows 
how much of the homage now paid her is due to 
the showy setting of the gem ; therefore, she takes all 
these things at their true valuation. Then, my friend," 
and Mr. Walter's voice became tremulous, " amid all 
these 'well done* plaudits, the loved voice is silent. The 
laurel crown indeed is won, but the feet at which she fain 
would cast it have finished their toilsome earth-march." 

"It is time we gentlemen were going; let us talk 
business now," said Mr. Walter, as Euth returned from 
her conversation with the children. " How long did you 
propose remaining here, Ruth ?" 

" For a month or so," she replied. " I have several 
matters I wish to arrange before bidding adieu to this 
part of the country, I shall try to get through as soon 



366 



RUTH HALL. 



as possible, for I long to be settled in a permanent and 
comfortable home." 

" I shall return this way in a month or six weeks," 
said Mr. Walter, " and if you are ready at that time, I 
shall be most happy to escort you and your children to 
your new residence." 

"Thank you," said Euth. "Good-bye, good-bye," 
shouted both the children, as the two gentlemen left the 
room. 



CHAPTER LXXXIII. 

" T DON'T know about holding you both in my lap 
at once," said Ruth smiling, as Nettie climhed up 
after Katy. 

" Do, please," said Nettie, " and now let us have a nice 
talk ; tell us where we are going to live, mamma, and if 
we can have a kitty or a rabbit, or some live thing to 
play with, and if we are going to school, and if you are 
going to leave off writing now, and play with Katy and 
me, and go to walk with us, and ride with us. Shan't we 
have some rides ? What is the matter, mamma ?" said 
the little chatterbox, noticing a tear in her mother's eye. 
" I was thinking, dear, how happy we are." 
" Is n't that funny ?" said Nettie to Katy, " that mam- 
ma should cry when she is happy 1 I never heard of 
such a thing. / don't cry when I 'm happy. Didn't we 
have a good dinner, Katy ? Oh, I like this house. It was 
such an old dark room we used to live in, and there was 



368 



BUTH HALL. 



nothing pretty to look at, and mamma kept on w- .icing, 
and I had nothing to play with, except a little mouse, who 
used to peep out of his hole, when it came dark, for 
some supper. I liked him, he was so cunning, but I 
could n't give him any supper, because — " here the little 
chatterbox glanced at her m^other, and then placing her 
mouth to Katy's ear, whispered, with a look the gravity of 
which was irresistible, "because mamma couldn't sup- 
port a mouse." 

Ruth laughed heartily as she overheard the remark, 
and Nettie thought her mother m.ore of a puzzle than ever 
that she should keep laughing and crying so in the wrong 
place. 

" What have you there, Nettie ?" asked Katy. 

" Something," said Nettie, looking very wise, as she 
hid her chubby hands under her pinafore. " It is a secret. 
Mamma and I know," said she with a very important air, 
" don't we, mamma ? Would you tell Katy, mother, if 
you were me V 

" Certainly," said Ruth ; " you know it would not be 
pleasant to keep such a great secret from Katy." 

Nettie looked very searchingly into her mother's eyes, 
but she saw nothing there but sincerity. 

•'Won't you ever tell, Katy ever? it is a terrible 
secret." 

" No," replied Katy, laughing. 

" Not even to Mr. Walter V asked Nettie, who had 



RUTH HALL. 369 

learned to consider Mr. Walter as their best friend, and 
the impersonation of all that was manly and chival 
rous. 

Katy shook her head negatively. 

"Well, then," said Nettie, hanging ner head with a 
pretty shame, " /'»i in love /" 

Katy burst into an uncontrollable fit of laughter, rock- 
ing herself to and fro, and ejaculating, " Oh ! mamma ! 
oh ! did you ever 1 Oh, how funny !" 

" Funny ?" said Nettie, with the greatest naivete, " it 
was n't funny at all ; it was very nice. I '11 tell you all 
how it happened, Katy. You see I used to get so tired 
when you were away, when I had nobody to play with, 
and mamma kept up such a thinking. So mamma said I 
might go to a little free school opposite, half-a^day, when 
I felt like it, and perhaps that would amuse me. Mam- 
ma told the teacher not to trouble herself about teaching 
me much. Well, I sat on a little low bench, and right 
opposite me, across the room, was such a pretty little 
boy ! his name was Neddy. He had on a blue jacket, 
with twelve bright buttons on it ; I counted them ; and 
little plaid pants and drab gaiters ; and his cheeks were 
so rosy, and his hair so curly, and his eyes so bright, oh, 
Katy !" and Nettie clasped her little hands together in a 
paroxysm of admiration. " Well, Katy, he kept smiling 
at me, and in recess he used to give me half his apple, 

and once, when nobody was looking, — would you tell her 
16* 



370 BUTB HALL. 

mamma 1" said Nettie, doubtfully, as she ran up to her 
mother. " Won't you tell, now, Katy, certainly V again 
asked Nettie. 

" No," promised Katy. 

" Not even to Mr. Walter f 

" No." 

" Well, once, when the teacher was n't looking, Katy, 
he took a piece of chalk and wrote ' Nettie ' on the palm 
of his hand, and held it up to me and then kissed it ;" 
and Nettie hid her glowing face on Katy's neck, whisper- 
ing, " was n't it beautiful, Katy ?" 

"Yes," replied Katy, trying to keep from laughing. 

"Well," said Nettie, "I felt most ashamed to tell 
mamma, I don't know why, though. I believe I was 
afraid that she would call it ' sUly,' or something ; and I 
felt just as if I should cry if she did. But, Katy, she 
did not think it sUly a bit. She said it was beautiful to 
be loved, and that it made everything on earth look 
brighter ; and that she was glad little Neddy loved me, 
and that I might love him just as much as ever I liked — 
just the same as if he were a little girl. Was n't that 
nice f asked Nettie. " I always mean to tell mamma 
everything ; don't you, Katy 1" 

" But you have not told Katy, yet, what you have hid- 
den under your apron, there," said Ruth. 

" Sure enough," said Nettie, producing a little picture. 
" Well, Neddy whispered to me one day in recess, that 



EUTH HALL. 371 

he had drawn a pretty picture on purpose for me, and 
that he was going to have a lottery ; I don't know what 
a lottery is ; but he cut a great many slips of paper, some 
long and some short, and the one who got the longest 
was to have the picture. Then he put a little tiny mark 
on the end of the longest, so that I should know it ; and 
then I got the picture, you know." 

" Why did he take all that trouble 1" asked the practi- 
cal Katy. " Why did n't he give it to you right out, if 
he wanted to V 

" Because — because,'' said Nettie, twirling her thumbs, 
and blushing with a little feminine shame at her boy- 
lover's want of independence, "he said — ^he — was — 
afraid — ^the — ^boys — would — ^laugh at him if they found it 
out." 

" Well, then, I would n't have taken it, if I had been 
you," said the phlegmatic Katy. 

" But, you know, I bved him so," said Nettie naively. 



CHAPTER LXXXIV. 



"HAYS and weeks flew by. Katy and Nettie were never 
-^ weary of comparing notes, and relating experiences. 
Nettie thought gloomy attics, scant fere and cross land- 
ladies, the climax of misery ; and Katy considered a 
score of mile-stones, with Nettie and a loving mother at 
one end, and herself and a cross grandmother at the 
other, infinitely worse. 

"Why, you can't tell anything about it," said Katy. 
" Grandma took away a little kitty because I loved it, 
and burned up a story-book mamma brought me, and 
tore up a letter which mamma printed in big capitals on 
a piece of paper for me to read when I was lonesome ; 
and she would n't let me feed the little snow-birds when 
they came shivering round the door ; and she made me 
eat turaips when they made me sick ; and she said I must 
not run when I went to school, for fear it would wear my 
shoes out ; and she put me to bed so early ; and I used 



RUTH HALI. 373 

to lie and count the stars (I liked the seven little stars 
all cuddled up together best) ; and sometimes I looked 
at the moon and thought I saw faces and mountains in it, 
and I wondered if it was shining into mamma's window; 
and then I thought of you all snug in mamma's bed ; and 
then I cried and cried, and got up and looked out into the 
road, and wondered if I could not run away in the night, 
when grandmother was asleep. Oh, Nettie, she was a 
dreadful grandmother ! She tried to make me stop lov- 
ing mother. She told me that she loved you better than 
she did me ; and then I wanted to die. I thought of it 
every night. I knew it was not true, but it kept trou- 
bling me. And then she said that very likely mamma 
would go off somewhere without letting me know any- 
thing about it, and never see me again. And she always 
said such things just as I was going to bed ; and then you 
know I could not get to sleep till almost morning, and 
when I did, I dreamed such dreadful dreams." 

" You poor little thing !" exclaimed Nettie, with pa- 
tronizing sympathy, to her elder sister, and laying her 
cheek against hers, " you poor little thing ! Well, mam- 
ma and I had a horrid time, too. You can't imagine ! 
The wind blew into the cracks of the room so cold ; and 
the stove smoked ; and I was afraid to eat when we had 
SiDj supper, for fear mamma would not have enough. 
She always said ' I am not hungry, dear,' but I think she 
did it to make me eat more. And one night mamma had 



374 ETJTH HALt. 

< 

no money to buy candles, and she wrote by moonlight ; 
and I often heard her cry when she thought I was asleep ; 
and I was so afraid of mamma's landladies, they screamed 
so loud, and scowled at me so ; and the grocer's boy 
made faces at me when I went in for a loaf of bread, and 
said ' Oh, ain't we a fine lady, aint we ?' And the wheel 
was off my old tin cart — and — oh — dear — Katy — " and 
Nettie's little voice grew fainter and fainter, and the 
little chatterbox and her listener both fell asleep. 

Ruth, as she listened in the shadow of the further cor- 
ner, thanked God -that they who had had so brief an ac- 
quaintance with life's joys, so early an introduction to 
life's cares, were again blithe, free, and joyous, as child- 
hood ever should be. How sweet to have it in her power 
to hedge them in with comforts, to surround them with 
pleasures, to make up to them for every tear of sorrow 
they had shed, — to repay them for the mute glance of 
sympathy — the silent caress — given, they scarce knew 
why, (but, oh, how touching ! how priceless !) when her 
own heart was breaking. 

And there they lay, in their pretty little bed, sleeping 
cheek to cheek, with arms thrown around each other. 
Nettie — courageous, impulsive, independent, irrepressi- 
ble, but loving, generous, sensitive, and noble-hearted. 
Katy — with veins through which the life-blood flowed 
more evenly, thoughtful, discriminating, diffident, reserved, 
(so proud of those magnetic qualities in her little sister, 



KUTH HALL. 375 

in which she was lacking, as to do injustice to her own 
solid but less showy traits ;) needing ever the kind word 
of encouragement, and judicious praise, to stimulate into 
life the dormant seeds of self-reliance. Euth kissed them 
Isoth, and left their future with Him who doeth all things 
irell. 

Twelve o'clock at night ! Euth lies dreaming by the 
side of her children. 

She dreams that she roves with them through lovely 
gardens, odorous with sweets ; she plucks for their 
parched lips the luscious fruits ; she garlands them with 
flowers, and smiles in her sleep, as their beaming eyes 
sparkle, and the rosy flush of happiness mantles their 
cheeks. But look ! there are three of them ! Another 
has joined the band — a little shadowy form, with lam- 
bent eyes, and the smile of a seraph. Blessed little 
trio. Follows another ! He has the same shadowy out- 
line — the same sweet, holy, yet familiar eyes. Euth's 
face grows radiant. The broken links are gathered up ; 
the family circle is complete ! 

With the sudden revulsion of dream-land, the scene 
changes. She dreams that the cry of " fire ! fire !" re- 
sounds through the streets ; bells ring — dogs howl — 
watchmen spring their rattles — ^boys shout — men whoop, 
and halloo, as they drag the engine over the stony pave- 
ments. " Tire ! fire !" through street after street, she 



376 EUTH HALL. 

dreams the watch-word flies ! Windows are thrown up, 
and many a night-capped head is thrust hastily out, and 
as hastily withdrawn, when satisfied of the distant danger. 
StiU, on rush the crowd ; the heavens are one hroad glare, 
and still the wreathed smoke curls over the distant 
houses. From the doors and windows of the doomed 
building, the forked flame, fanned by the fury of the 
wind, darts out its thousand fiery tongues. Women 
with dishevelled locks, and snow-white vestments, rush 
franticly out, bearing, in their tightened clasp, the sick, 
maimed, and helpless ; while the noble firemen, heedless 
of risk and danger, plunge fearlessly into the heated ait 
of the burning building. 

Now Ruth moves uneasily on her pillow ; she becomes 
conscious of a stifling, choking sensation; she slowly 
opens her eyes. God in heaven ! it is not all a dream ! 
With a wild shriek she springs from, the bed, and 
snatching from it her bewildered children, flies to the 
stairway. It has fallen in! She rushes to the window, 
her long hair floating out on the night-breeze. 

A smothered groan from the crowd below. "They 
are lost!" The showering cinders, and falling rafters, 
have shut out the dreadful tableau! No — the smoke 
clears away ! That portion of the building still remains, 
and Ruth and her children are clinging to it with the 
energy of despair. Who shall save them ? for it were 



RUTH HALL. 



377 



death to mount that tottering wall. Men hold their 
breath, and women shriek in terror. See ! a ladder is 
raised ; a gallant fireman scales it. Katy and Nettie are 
dropped into the outstretched arms of the crowd below ; 
the strong, brave arm of Johnny Gait is thrown around 
Ruth, and in an instant she lies fainting in the arms of a 
by-stander. 



The butchering, ambitious conqueror, impudently issues 
his bulletins of killed and wounded, quenching the sud- 
light in many a happy home. The world shouts bravo ! 
bravo ! Telegraph wires and printing-presses are put in 
requisition to do him honor. Men unharness the steeds 
from his triumphal car, and draw him in triumph through 
the flower-garlanded streets. Woman — gentle woman, 
tosses the slaughtering hero wreaths and chaplets ; but who 
turned twice to look at brave Johnny Gait, as, with pallid 
face, and smoky, discolored garments, he crawled to his 
obscure home, and stretched his weary limbs on his mis- 
erable couch? And yet the clinging grasp of rescued 
helplessness was still warm about his neck, the thrilling 
cry, " save us !" yet rang in the ears of the heedless 
crowd. God bless our gallant, noble, but unhonored fire- 
men. 



CHAPTER LXXXV. 

« STRANGE we do not hear from John," said Mrs. 
Millet to her -wooden husband, as he sat leisurely- 
sipping his last cup of tea, and chewing the cud of his re- 
flections ; " I want to hear how he gets on ; whether he is 
likely- to get any practice, and if his office is located to suit 
him. I hope Hyacinth will speak a good word for him ; 
it is very hard for a young man in a strange place to get 
employment. I really pity John ; it must be so disagree- 
able to put up -with the initiatory humiliations of a young 
physician without fortune in a great city." 

" Can't he go round and ask people to give him work, 
just like cousin Euth ?" asked a sharp little Millet, who 
was playing marbles in the corner. 

" It is time you were in bed, Willy," said his discon- 
certed mother, as she pointed to the door ; " go tell 
Nancy to put you to bed. 

"As I was saying, Mr. Millet, it is very hard for 



RUTH HALL. 379 

poor John — he is so sensitive. I hope he has a nice 
boarding-house among refined people, and a pleasant 
room with everything comfortable and convenient about 
it ; he is so fastidious, so easily disgusted with disagree- 
able surroundings. I hope he vrill not get low-spirited. 
If he gets practice I hope he will not have to walk to see his 
patients ; he ought to have a nice chaise, and a fine horse, 
and some trusty little boy to sit in the chaise and hold the 
reins, while he makes his calls. I hope he has curtains 
to his sleeping-room windows, and a nice carpet on the 
floor, and plenty of bed-clothes, and gas-light to read by, 
and a soft lounge to throw himself on when he is weary. 
Poor John — I wonder why we do not hear from him. 
Suppose you write to-day, Mr. Millet ?" 

Mr. Millet wiped his mouth on his napkin, stroked his 
chin, pushed back his cup two degrees, crosse* his knife 
and fork transversely over his plate, moved back his chair 
two feet and a half, hemmed six consecutive times, and 
was then safely delivered of the following remaxk : 

" My — over-coat." 

The overcoat was brought in from its peg in the entry ; 
the left pocket was disembowelled, and from it was fer- 
reted out a letter from " John,' (warranted to keep !) 
which had lain there unopened three days. Mrs. Millet 
made no remark ; — that day had gone by ; — she had ate, 
drank, and slept, with that petrifaction too long to be 
guilty of any such nonsense. She sat down with a res- 



380 B0TH HALL. 

ignation worthy of Socrates, and perused the following 
epistle : 

" Dear Mother : 

" Well, my sign hangs out my office-door, ' Doctor 
John Millet,' and here I sit day after day, waiting for 
pat\ents — ^I should spell it patience. This is a great city, 
and there are plenty of accidents happening every hour in 
the twenty-four, hut unluckily for me there are more than 
plenty of doctors to attend to them, as every other door 
has one of their signs swinging out. Hyacinth has heen 
sick, and I ran up there the other day, thinking, as he is a 
public man, it might be some professional advantage to 
me to have my name mentioned in connection with his 
sickness ; he has a splendid place, six or eight servants, 
and everything on a corresponding scale. 

To think of Ruth's astonishing success ! I was in hopes 
it might help me a little in the way of business, to say- 
that she was my cousin ; but she has cut me dead. How 
could /tell she was going to be so famous, when I request- 
ed her not to allow her children to call me ' cousin John ' 
in the street ? I tell you, mother, we all missed a figure 
in turning the cold shoulder to her ; and how much money 
she has made ! I might sit in my office a month, and 
not earn so much as she can by her pen in one forenoon. 
Yes — ^there 's no denying it, we 've all made a great mis- 



RUTH HALL. 



381 



take. Brother Totn. Trt'ites me from college, that at a 
party the other night, he happened to mention (incident- 
ally, of course) that ' Floy ' was his cousin, when some 
one near him remarked, ' I should think the less said 
ahout that, by ' Floy's ' relatives, the better.' It frets 
Hyacinth to a frenzy to have her poverty alluded to. 
He told me that he had taken the most incredible pains to 
conciliate editors whom he despised, merely to prevent 
any allusion to it in their columns. I, myself, have sent 
several anonymous paragraphs to the papers for inser- 
tion, contradicting the current reports, and saying that 
' ' Floy ' lost her self-respect before she lost her friends.' 
I don't suppose that was quite right, but I must have an 
eye to my practice, you know, and it might injure me if 
the truth were known. I find it very diiBcult, too, to get 
any adverse paragraph in, she is getting to be such a favor- 
ite (i. e. anywhere where it will tell;) the little scurri- 
lous papers, you know, have no influence. 

" It is very expensive living here ; I am quite out of 
pocket. If you can get anything from father, I wish 
you would. Hyacinth says I must marry a rich wife as 
he did, when I get cornered by duns. Perhaps I may, 
but your rich girls are invariably homely, and I have an 
eye for beauty. Still there 's no knowing what gilded 
pill I may be tempted to swallow if I don't get into prac- 
tice pretty soon. Hyacinth's wife makes too many al- 



382 E0TH HALL. 

lusions to ' her family' to suit me (or Hyacinth either 
if the truth must he told, but he hates a dun worse, st 
that squares it, I suppose). Love to Leila. 

" Your aifeotionate son, John Millet." 



CHAPTEK LXXXVI. 

« p OOD afternoon, Mrs. Hall," said one of the old 
^ lady's neighbors ; " here is the book you lent me. 
I am much obliged to you for it. I like it better than 
any book I have read for a long while. You said truly 
that if I once began it, I should not lay it down tUl I 
had finished it." 

" Yes," said the old lady, " I don't often read a book 
now-a-days ; my eyes are not very strong, (blue eyes sel- 
dom are, I believe,'' said she, fearing lest her visitoi 
should suspect old Time had been blurring them ;) " but 
that book, now, just suits me ; there is common-sense iii 
it. Whoever wrote that book is a good writer, and . 
hope she will give us another just like it. ' Floy' is a 
queer nan:e ; I don't recollect ever hearing it before. I 
wonder who she is." 

" So do I," said the visitor ; " and what is more, 1 
mean to find out. Oh, here comes Squire Dana's son ; 



384 RUTH HALL. 

he knows everything. I '11 ask him. Yes, there he 
comes into the gate ; fine young man. Mr. Dana. They 
do say he 's making up to Sarah JUson, the lawyer's 
daughter ; good match, too," 

" Good afternoon," said both the ladies ia a breath ; 
"glad to see you, Mr. Dana; folks well? That's right. 
We have just been saying that you could tell us who 
' Floy,' the author of that charming hook, ' Life Sketch- 
es,' really is." 

" You are inclined to quiz me," said Mr. Dana. " I 
think it should be you who should give me that informar 
tion." 

" Usi" exclaimed both the old ladies ; " us ? we have 
not the slightest idea who she is ; we only admire her 
book." 

" Well, then, I have an unexpected pleasure to bestow," 
said Mr. Dana, rubbing his hands in great glee. " Allow 
me to inform you, Mrs. Hall, that 'Floy' is no more, 
nor less, than your daughter-in-law, — Ruth." 

" /^possible !" screamed the old lady, growmg very 
red in the face, and clearing her throat most vigor- 
ously. 

" I assure you it is true. My informant is quite relia- 
ble. I am glad you admire your daughter-in-law's book, 
Mrs. Hall ; I quite share the feeling with you." 

" But I don't admire it," said the old lady, growing 
every moment more oonfosed ; " there are several things 



EUTH HALL. 385 

in it, now I think of them, which I consider highly im- 
moral. I think I mentioned them to you, Mrs. Spear," 
said she, (trusting to that lady's defective memory,) " at 
the time I lent it to you." 

" Oh no, you did n't," replied Mrs. Spear ; " you said 
it was one of the hest and most interesting hooks you 
ever read, else I should not have borrowed it. I am 
very particular what I put in my children's way.'' 

" Well, I could n't have been thinking of what I was 
saying," said the. old lady ; " the book is very silly, a 
great part of it, beside being very bold, for a woman, and 
as I said before, really immoral." 

"It is highly recommended by the religious press,*" 
said Mr. Dana, infmitely amused at the old lady's sud- 
den change of opinion. 

" You can't tell," said the old lady ; " I have no doubt 
she wrote those notices herself." 

" She has made an ample fortune, at any rate," said 
the young man ; " more than I ever expect to make, if I 
should scribble till dooms-day." 

" Don't believe it," said the old lady, fidgeting in her 
chair ; " or, if she has, it won't last long." 

" In that case she has only to write another book," saii 
the persistent Mr. Dana; " her books will always find a 
ready market." 

" "We shall see," said the old lady bridling ; " it is my 
opinion she '11 go out like the wick of a candle. People 



386 BUTH HALL. 

won't read a second edition of such trash. Euth Hall 
' Floy' ? Humph ! that accounts, — ^humph ! Well, any- 
how, if she has made money, she had her nose held to 
the grindstone pretty well first ; that 's one comfort. 
She 'Floy'? Humph! That accounts. Well, some- 
times money is given for a curse ; I 've heem tell of such 
things. 

" — Yes, yes,* I 've heem tell of such things,'' muttered 
the old lady, patting her foot, as her two visitors left. 
" Dreadful grand, Ruth — ' Floy' feels now, I suppose. A 
sight of money she 's made, has she ? A great deal she 
knows how to invest it. Invest it ! What 's the use of 
talking about that 1 It will be invested on her back, in 
silk gowns, laces, frumpery, and such things. I have n't a 
silk gown in the world. The least she could do, would 
be to send me one, for the care of that child. 

" — ^Yes, laces and feathers, feathers and laces. The 
children, too, all tricked out like little monkeys, with 
long ostrich legs, and short, bob-tailed skirts standing out 
like opery girls, and whole yards of ribbin streaming 
from their hadr, I '11 warrant. The Catechize clean driven 
out of Katy's head. Should n't be at all astonished if 
they went to dancing school, or any other immoral place. 

" — Wonder where they '11 live ? In some grand 
hotel, of course ; dinner at six o'clock, black servants, 
gold salt-cellars and finger-glasses ; nothing short of 
that '11 suit now ; humph. Should n't be astonished any 



BUTH HALL. 387 

day to hear Ruth kept a carriage and servants in livery, 
or had been to Victory's Court in lappets and diamonds. 
She 's just impudent enough to do it. She isn't afraid 
of anybody nor anything. Dare say she will marry some 
Count or Duke ; she has no more principle. 

" — Humph ! I suppose she is crowing well over me. 
V-e-r-y w-e-1-1 ; the wheel may turn round again, who 
knows ? In fact, I am sure of it. How glad I should be ! 
Well, I must say, I did n't think she had so much perse- 
verance. I expected she'd just sit down, after awhile, 
and fret herself to death, and bs well out of the way. 

" — ' Floy' ! humph. I suppose I sha n't take up a 
newspaper now without getting a dose about her. I dare 
say that spiteful young Uana will call here again just to 
rile me up by praising her. What a fool I was to get 
taken in so about that book. But how should I know it 
was hers 1 I should as soon have thought of her turn- 
ing out Mrs. Bonaparte, as an authoress. Authoress ! 
Humph ! Wonder how the heels of her stockings look ? 
S'pose she wears silk ones now, and French shoes ; she 
was always as proud as Lucifer of her foot. 

" — ^Well, I must say, (as long as there 's nobody here 
to hear me,) that she beats all. Humph! She'll col- 
lapse, though ; there 's no doubt of tJiat. I 've heard of 
balloons that alighted in mud-puddles." 



CHAPTER LXXXVII. 



" ri OOD morning, Mr. Ellet !" said Mr. Jones, mating 
^ an attempt at a bow, which the stiffness of his shirt- 
collar rendered entirely abortive ; " how d 'ye do 1" 

" Oh, how are you, Mr, Jones ? I was just look- - 
ing over the Household Messenger here, reading my 
daughter ' Floy's' pieces, and thinking what a great 
thing it is for a child to have a good father. 'Floy' 
was carefully brought up and instructed, and this, you 
see, is the result. I have been reading several of her 
pieces to a clergyman, who was in here just now. I keep 
them on hand in my pocket-book, to exhibit as a proof 
of what early parental education and guidance may do in 
developing latent talent, and giving the mind a right di- 
rection," 

" I was not aware ' Floy' was your daughter," replied 
Mr. Jones ; " do you know what time she commenced 
writing 1 what was the title of her first article and what 
was her remuneration ?" 



KUTH HALI,. 389 

" Sir T said Mr. Ellet, wishing to gain a little time, 
and looking very confused. 

" Perhaps I should not ask such questions," said the in- 
nocent Mr. Jones, mistaking the cause of Mr. EUet's hesi- 
tation ; " but I felt a little curiosity to know something of 
her early progress. What a strong desire you must have 
felt for her ultimate success ; and how much your influence 
and sympathy must have assisted her. Do you know 
whether her remuneration at the commencement of her 
career as a writer, was above the ordinary average of 
pay?" 

" Yes — 'no — ^really, Mr. Jones, I will not venture to 
say, lest I should make a mistake ; my memory is apt to 
be so treacherous." 

" She wrote merely for amusement, I suppose ; there 
could be no necessity in your daughter's case," said the 
blundering Mr. Jones. 

" Certainly not," replied Mr. Ellet. 

" It is astonishing how she can write so feelingly about 
the poor," said Mr. Jones ; " if , is so seldom that an 
author succeeds in depicting truthfully those scenes for 
which he draws solely upon the imagination." 

" My daughter, ' Eloy,' has a very vivid imagination," 
replied Mr. Ellet, nervously. " Women generally have, 
I believe ; they are said to excel our sex ia word-paint- 
ing." 

" I don't know but it may be so," said Jones. " ' Floy' 



390 RUTH HALL. 

certainly possesses it in an uncommon degree. It is diffi- 
cult else to imagine, as I said before, how a person, who 
has always been surrounded with comfort and luxury, 
could describe so feelingly the other side of the picture. 
It is remarkable. Do you know how much she has real- 
ized by her writings ?" 

"There, again," said the disturbed Mr. Ellet, "my 
memory is at fault ; I am not good at statistics." 

"Some thousands, I suppose," replied Mr. Jones. 
" Well, how true it is, that ' to him who hath shall be 
given !' Now, here is your literary daughter, who has no 
need of m.oney, realizes a fortune by her books, while 
many a destitute and talented writer starves on a crust." 

" Yes," replied Mr. Ellet, " the ways of Providence are 
inscrutable." 



CHAPTEE LXXXVIII. 

" TpEMALE literature seems to he all the rage now," 

-'- remarked a gentleman, who was turning over the 
volumes in Mr. Develin's book store. No. 6 Literary 
Kow." " Who are your most successful lady authors ?" 

" Miss Pyne," said Mr. Develin, " authoress of ' Shad- 
ows,' Miss Tafi, authoress of ' Sunbeams,' and Miss Bit- 
man, authoress of ' Fairyland.' " 

" I have been told," said the gentleman, " that ' Life 
Sketches,' by ' Floy,' has had an immense sale — a larger 
one, in fact, than any of the others ; is that so ?" 

" It has had a tolerable sale," answered Mr. Develin, 
coldly. " I might have published it, I suppose, had I ap- 
plied ; but I had a very indifferent opinion of the literary 
talent of the authoress. The little popularity it has had, 
is undoubtedly owing to the writer being a sister of Hya- 
cinth Ellet, the Editor of ' The Irving Magazine.' " 

" Butw she his sister," said the gentleman ; " there are 



392 RUTH HALL. 

many rumors afloat ; one hardly knows what to be- 
lieve." 

" No doubt of it," said Mr. Develin ; " in fact, I, myself, 
Mow it to be true. 'Floy' is his sister; and it is alto- 
gether owing to the transferring of her articles, by him, 
to the columns of his paper, and his liberal endorsement 
of them, that she has had any success." 

"Indeed," said the gentleman; "why I was a sub- 
scriber both for ' The Standard,' when her first article ap- 
peared in it, and also for ' The Irving Magazine,' and I am 
very sure that nothing of hers was copied in the latter until" 
she had acquired an enviable popularity all over the Union. 
No, sir," said Mr. Walter, (for it was he,) " I know a 
great deal more about ' Floy' and her writings than you 
can tell me, and some little about yourself I have often 
heard of the Version you give of this matter, and I came 
in to satisfy myself if it had been correctly reported to 
me. Now, allow me to set you right, sir," said he, with a 
stern look. " The Editor of ' The Irving Magazine ' never 
recognized ' Floy' as his sister, till the universal popular 
voice had pronounced its verdict in her favor. Then, 
when the steam was up, and the locomotive whizzing past, 
he jumps on, and says, ' how fast we go !' " 

" I think you are mistaken, sir," replied Mr. Develin, 
with a faint attempt to retain his position. 

" I am not mistaken, sir ; I know, personally, that in 
the commencement of her literary career, when one or two 



EUTH HALL. 393 

articles of hers were copied into his paper by an assistant 
in the office, he positively forbade her nom de plume 
being again mentioned, or anotner of her articles copied 
into the Irving Magazine. He is a miserable time-server, 
sir. Fashion is his God ; he recognizes only the drawing- 
room side of human nature. Sorrow in satin he can 
sympathize with, but sorrow in rags is too plebeian for 
his exquisite organization. 

" Good morning, Mr. Develin ; good morning, sir. 
The next time I hear of your giving a version of this 
matter, I trust it will be a correct one," added he with a 
stern look. 

" "Well," exclaimed Mr. Walter, as he walked down 
street, " of all mean meanness of which a man can be 
guilty, the meanest, in my estimation, is to rob a woman 
of her justly-earned literary fame, and I wish, for the 
credit of human nature, it were confined to persons of as 
limited mental endowments and influence as the one I 
have just left." 

17* 



CHAPTER LXXXIX. 

" jT^H, how frightened I was !" exclaimed Nettie, as her 

^ mother applied some healing salve to a slight burn 
on her arm ; " how frightened I was^ at that fire !" 

" You mean, how frightened you were aftar the fire," 
replied her mother, smiling ; " you were so bewildered, 
waking up out of that sound sleep, that I fiiney you did 
not understand much about the danger tiU after good 
Johnny Gait saved you." 

" If I did not love Neddy so much, I should certainly 
give Johnny Gait my picture," said Nettie, with a sudden 
outburst of enthusiasm. 

"I will see that Johnny Gait is rewarded," replied 
Ruth. "But this is the day Mr. Walter was to have 
come. I hope Johnny Gait will meet him at the D6p6t 
as he promised, else he will be so alarmed about our 
safety when he learns of the fire. Dear me ! how the rain 
comes down, it looks as though it meant to persevere." 



BUTH HALt. 395 

"Yes, and pov/rsevere too," said Nettie, with an arch 
look at her mother. 

Katy and Euth had not finished laughing at this sally, 
when Mr. Walter was announced. 

His greeting was grave, for he tremhled to think of the 
danger they had escaped. After mutual congratulations 
had been exchanged, a detailed account of their escape 
given, and Johnny Gait's heroism duly extolled, Mr. 
Walter said : 

" Well, I am glad to find you so comfortahly housed 
after the fire ; but the sooner I take all of you under my 
charge, the better, I think. What do you say to start- 
ing for to-morrow 1 Are you sufficiently recov- 
ered from your fright and fatigue ?" 

" Oh, yes," replied Kuth, laughing ; '■ do we not look as 
good as new 1 Our wardrobe, to be sure, is in rather a 
slender condition ; but that is much easier remedied than 
a slender purse, as I have good reason to know." 

" Very well, then,'' said Mr. Walter ; " it is understood 
that we go to-morrow. I have some business to look 
after in the morning ; shall you object to waiting till after 
dinner ?" 

" Not at all," replied Euth. " In my opiuion, nothing 
can equal the forlomness of forsaking a warm bed, to 
start breakfastles* on a journey, with one's eyes half 
open." 

" ' Floy,' " said Mr, Walter, taking a package from his 



396 BUTH HALL. 

pocket, " I have obeyed your directions, and here is 
something which you may well be proud of;" and he 
handed Euth a paper. It ran thus : 






IN THE CITT or . gSrt;! 

Be it known thai Mrs. Buth Sail, of , is entitled ^ '' 

to one hmid/red sha/res of the Capital Stock of the Seion I 
Bmik, cmd holds ihe same subject to the conditions and ^ § | 
stipulations contained in ihe Articles of Association of 8 1 
such Institution ; which shares are iramsferaible on the §i-?°| 
Books of the Association by the said Mrs. Bvih EaM <"■ & g j 
her Attorney, on surrender of this Certificate. S § » 

In witness whe/reqf, &c., &c. S P « 

ffltto C±5 cto ct» cb <*(*>* cfc t^ cp t^ <^ t|) r^ <^ (^ t^ (^ (^ (^J Cj3 CJ3 !^ (^ C^ t^ C^ <^ CJJ ^ 



" There," said Mr. Walter, laughing, " imagine your- 
self, if you can, in that dismal attic one year ago, a hank- 
stock holder ! Now confess that you are proud of your- 
self." 

" We are proud of her," said the talkative Nettie ; " if 
she is not proud of herself Don't you think it is too bad, 
Mr. Walter, that mamma won't let Katy and me tell that 
' Floy ' is our mother ? A little girl who lived at the 
hotel that was burnt up, said to Katy, that her uncle had 
just given her Life Sketches for a birjji-day present, and 
told her that she must try and write as well as ' Floy ' 
one of these days ; and Katy looked at me, and I looked 



E0TH HALL. 397 

at Katy ; and oh, is n't it too bad, Mr. Walter, that mam- 
ma won't Jet us tell, when we want to so much 'i" 

"Well," said Mr. Walter, laughing, "I have only 
one little remark to make about that, namely, I have no 
doubt you two young ladies discovered some time before 
I did, that when your mamma says Ifo, there is an end to 
all argument." 



CHAPTER XC 



npHE morning of the next day was bright and fair. Af- 
ter dinner our travelling party entered the carriage 
in waiting, and proceeded on their way ; the children chat- 
tering as usual, like little magpies, and Ruth and Mr. 
Walter occupied with their own solitary reflections. 

One of the greatest luxuries of true friendship is the 
perfect freedom one feels, irrespective of the presence of 
another, to indulge in the mood of the moment — ^whether 
that mood be grave or gay, taciturn or loquacious, the un- 
speakable deliciousness of being reprieved from talking at 
a mark, hampered by no fear of inoivUity or discourtesy. 
Euth had found this a great charm in the society of Mr. 
Walter, who seemed perfectly to understand and sympa 
thize with her varied moods. On the present occasion 
she particularly felt its value — oppressed as she was by 
the rush of thoughts, retrospective and anticipatory — 
standing as it were on the threshold of a new epoch in 
her changing existence. 



BtTTH HALL. 399 

" Where are we going, mother ?" asked Katy, as the 
carriage passed through a stone-gateway, and down a dim 
avenue of ancient trees. 

" To dear papa's grave," replied Euth, " before we 
leave this part of the country." 

" Yes !" murmured Katy, in a low whisper. 



It was very beautiful, that old avenue of pine trees, 
through which the setting sun was struggling faintly, now 
resting like a halo on some moss-grown grave-stone, now 
gilding some more ambitious monument of Mammon's 
raising. The winding cemetery paths, thronged by day 
with careless feet, were silent now. No lightsome 
laughter echoed through those leafy dells, grating upon 
the ear which almost listened for the loved voice. No 
strange eye, with curious gaze, followed the thoughtfiil 
group, speculating upon their heart's hidden history ; but, 
now and then, a little loitering bird, tempted beyond its 
mate to lengthen its evening flight, flitted, with a brief 
gush of song, across their pathway. Hushed, holy, and 
unprofaned, was this Sabbath of the dead ! Aching 
hearts here throbbed with pain no longer ; weary feet 
were still ; busy hands lay idly crossed over tired 
breasts ; babes, who had poised one tiny foot on life's 



400 RUTH HALL. 

tortid ocean brink, then shrank back affrighted at its 
surging waves, here slept their peaceful sleep. 

The moon had silvered the old chapel turrets, and the 
little nodding flowers glistened with dew-drops, but still 
Euth lingered. Old memories were thronging, thick and 
fast, upon her ; — ^past joys — ^past sorrows — past suffer- 
ings ; — ^and yet the heart, which felt them all so keenly, 
would soon lie pulseless amid these mouldering thou- 
sands. There was a vacant place left by the side of 
Harry, Ruth's eye rested on it — then on her children 
— then on Mr. Walter. 

" So help me God," reverently murmured the latter, 
interpreting the mute appeal. 

As the carriage rolled from under the old stone gate- 
way, a little bird, startled from out its leafy nest, triUed 
forth a song as sweet and clear as the lark's at heaven's 
own blessed gate. 

" Accept the omen, dear Ruth," said Mr. Walter. 
" Life has much of harmony yet in store for you." 



THE END.